Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Republicans' Next Target Is...Obamacare

Congress passed Obamacare; its chief proponent, President Obama, was re-elected; the Supreme Court upheld it, and it emerged unscathed following the government shutdown. Only 29 percent of the public favors its complete repeal. Regardless, the Republicans, whose favorability sunk during the shutdown, have an emerging strategy–to attack Obamacare:

...Republicans are intent on making the health law an uncomfortable anchor around the neck of four Democratic senators seeking re-election in GOP-leaning states, weighing them down as they try to unseat them. Republicans need to gain six seats to seize the majority in the Senate, and any formula for control includes flipping the four seats.

Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska and Kay Hagan of North Carolina will be facing voters for the first time since they were among the 60 Democrats who voted for the health law in 2009.

..."The bottom line is these candidates will have to answer for why they voted for this bill," said Rob Engstrom, senior vice president and national political director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber spent millions on ads in 2012 criticizing Senate incumbents such as Jon Tester of Montana and Bill Nelson of Florida for their health care votes, yet many of those candidates overcame the criticism and won re-election.

The economy, not health care, remains the top concern of voters. By putting opposition to the health care law ahead of all other priorities, economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin says tea-party conservatives may have overdone it.

Image: Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

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