The man in charge of House Republicans’ campaign efforts said Friday that Obamacare will be the defining issue of the 2014 midterms, but he declined to predict how many seats his party will win next year.
“I believe it more now than ever,” Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told reporters during an event hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. “Now that it has become a category 5 political hurricane, it is not just causing havoc in certain regions of the country, it is ripping apart every region of the country.”
On Thursday, President Obama announced that insurance companies could continue to sell existing plans for one year even if the policies don’t meet the law’s standards. People losing their insurance, combined with the inability of many consumers to purchase new health plans on malfunctioning Obamacare websites, have fomented a backlash from the public.
Walden said House Democrats, like the president, needed to apologize to the public for the canceled policies. Regardless, he said, voters will punish them at the ballot box next year. “If you don’t like your Democratic House member, you don’t have to keep him or her,” Walden joked, quoting a radio host friend of his.
The NRCC chair demurred when asked if his party would win seats, but he said the GOP “clearly has the ability to gain seats — a net-gain seats — in 2014.”
Democrats had boasted after last month’s government shutdown that they were in a prime position to gain seats in the lower chamber, in and of itself an impressive feat during a midterm election where the president’s party traditionally loses seats. Walden acknowledged that the shutdown was not well received by the public, but said there was a key difference between that and Obamacare: Eventually, the government was funded.
“The thing about Obamacare is it continues on,” he said.
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."