Obama Won’t Stop Talking About Obamacare

Health care got the most State of the Union airtime in Tuesday’s address since 2010.

National Journal
Sam Baker
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Sam Baker
Jan. 28, 2014, 5:25 p.m.

Health care got more at­ten­tion on Tues­day than it has had in a State of the Uni­on since 2010, as Pres­id­ent Obama de­fen­ded the Af­ford­able Care Act while us­ing the high-pro­file speech to make a pitch for en­roll­ment — and he even took a chance to needle the law’s crit­ics.

“Moms, get on your kids to sign up. Kids, call your mom and walk her through the ap­plic­a­tion,” Obama said. The ad­min­is­tra­tion is set to spend mil­lions of dol­lars over the next two months to en­cour­age people to en­roll in the health care law’s new cov­er­age op­tion, and Obama’s dir­ect ap­peal dur­ing the State of the Uni­on was an­oth­er clear sign that the White House be­lieves its best polit­ic­al ar­gu­ment is simply to get as many people covered as pos­sible.

But that didn’t stop the pres­id­ent from tak­ing a few cracks at Re­pub­lic­ans for their fix­a­tion on re­peal­ing Obama­care — or, at least, hold­ing sym­bol­ic re­peal votes to squeeze Demo­crats ahead of this year’s midterms.

“If you have spe­cif­ic plans to cut costs, cov­er more people, and in­crease choice — tell Amer­ica what you’d do dif­fer­ently. Let’s see if the num­bers add up,” Obama said. “But let’s not have an­oth­er 40-something votes to re­peal a law that’s already help­ing mil­lions of Amer­ic­ans. … The first 40 were plenty.”

Ken­tucky Gov. Steve Be­s­hear won a shout-out from the pres­id­ent for suc­cess­fully im­ple­ment­ing a state-run in­sur­ance ex­change in a deeply red state. Ken­tucky has one of the most ef­fect­ive ex­changes in the coun­try.

“Ken­tucky’s not the most lib­er­al part of the coun­try, but he’s like a man pos­sessed when it comes to cov­er­ing his com­mon­wealth’s fam­il­ies,” Obama said.

What We're Following See More »
WHO PLAYED THE DONALD?
Longtime Clinton Aide Played Trump in Mock Debates
5 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

After keeping the information private for most of the lead-up to the debate on Monday, it has been revealed that longtime Clinton aide Philippe Reines has been playing the role of Donald Trump in her debate prep. Reines knows Clinton better than most, able to identify both her strengths and weaknesses, and his selection for a sparring partner shows that Clinton is preparing for the brash and confrontational Donald Trump many have come to expect.

Source:
WEEKEND POLLING ROUNDUP
New Polls Still Show Razor-Thin Margins
11 minutes ago
THE LATEST
  • A national Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Clinton leading Trump by just two points among likely voters, 46% to 44%.
  • A national Bloomberg poll out Monday morning by Selzer & Co. has Clinton and Trump tied at 46% in a two-way race, and Trump ahead 43% to 41% in a four-way race.
  • A CNN/ORC poll in Colorado shows likely voters’ support for Trump at 42%, 41% for Clinton, and a CNN/ORC poll in Pennsylvania has Clinton at 45% and Trump at 44%.
  • A Portland Press Herald/UNH survey in Maine has Clinton leading Trump in ME-01 and Trump ahead in ME-02.
THE QUESTION
How Many Times Has the Trump Campaign Emailed Ted Cruz’s Supporters?
17 minutes ago
THE ANSWER

More than 30 times, in the case of some donors. Long before Cruz endorsed Trump—and before he even snubbed the nominee at the Republican National Convention—"the senator quietly began renting his vast donor email file to his former rival, pocketing at least tens of thousands of dollars, and more likely hundreds of thousands, that can be used to bankroll the Texan’s own political future."

Source:
STAKES ARE HIGH
Debate Could Sway One-Third of Voters
12 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered 'debate persuadables'—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate."

Source:
YOU DON’T BRING ME FLOWERS ANYMORE
Gennifer Flowers May Not Appear After All
12 hours ago
THE LATEST

Will he or won't he? That's the question surrounding Donald Trump and his on-again, off-again threats to bring onetime Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers to the debate as his guest. An assistant to flowers initially said she'd be there, but Trump campaign chief Kellyanne Conway "said on ABC’s 'This Week' that the Trump campaign had not invited Flowers to the debate, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of Flowers being in the audience."

Source:
×