They may not have gotten many concessions on Obamacare during the latest fiscal fight, but Republicans believe they’ll have another chance to make their case on the health-reform law in the 2014 elections. Democrats aren’t so sure.
Seventy-one percent of the GOP insiders surveyed by National Journal this week said the issue would be “very important” in the coming elections. “Even low-information voters will have figured out what an abomination it is by then,” said one.
Just 2 percent of Republicans surveyed said it was “not important,” and the rest were in between.
Democrats were much less likely to believe the success or travails of the law’s first year would be the key issue for voters. Just 32 percent thought it would be “very important” in the coming fight, and 12 percent said it wouldn’t be important at all. The majority said it was “somewhat important.” In comments, they offered a common caveat: It depends on whether the glitches that have plagued the law’s rollout since Oct. 1 are fixed, and how quickly.
“If it goes well, it will only be a base issue for Republicans,” said one Democrat. “If it goes poorly, as it has so far, it will be a serious issue.”
Obamacare’s rocky rollout got a break from front-page headlines this week as a federal government shutdown dragged on and a national default loomed. During those uncertain fiscal times, it was tempting to reminisce about the past, and National Journal also asked insiders who had been the most effective president in the past 30 years.
Democrats overwhelmingly ““ 75 percent ““ named Bill Clinton (“Intelligence, charisma and a good economy, stupid,” said one). Republicans even more overwhelmingly ““ 89 percent ““ pointed to Ronald Reagan (“Turning around the economy, defeating communism, restoring faith in the future — these are not small things.”)
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There seems to be a clear consensus forming about Monday's debate: Hillary Clinton was the clear winner. One focus group of undecided Pennsylvania voters, conducted by GOP pollster Frank Luntz, found 16 favored Clinton while five picked Donald Trump. In a Florida focus group organized by CNN, 18 of 20 undecided voters saw Clinton as the winner.
As both candidates walked off the stage, Donald Trump lauded himself for being restrained and for not bringing up Bill Clinton. "I didn’t want to say—her husband was in the room along with her daughter, who I think is a very nice young lady—and I didn’t want to say what I was going to say about what’s been going on in their life," Trump said. Trump claims he stopped himself from hitting Bill Clinton because daughter Chelsea was in the room.
At the end of the debate, moderator Lester Holt asked Donald Trump if he stands by his statement that Hillary Clinton didn't have the look of a president. Trump responded by saying Holt misquoted him, instead saying that Clinton "doesn't have the stamina." Clinton responded by saying that when Trump visits 112 countries as secretary of state, he can talk to her about stamina.
Donald Trump, when pressed by Lester Holt on why he finally admitted that President Obama was born in America, repeated his widely debunked claim that it was started by Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton went point by point on how race can so often determine the treatment that people receive, mentioning recent shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte, calling for restored trust between communities and police, and demanding criminal justice reform. Trump responded by calling for law and order and touting his endorsements from police unions. He then said that “African Americans are living in hell,” saying they are just walking down the street and getting “shot ... being decimated by crime."