Democrats Shift Focus From Obamacare Woes to Budget, Elections

Wednesday, 13 Nov 2013 06:58 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Sinking in a deluge of negative headlines on Obamacare and an increasingly unpopular president, Democrats are trying to shift the political focus to a looming federal budget showdown in January, The Hill reported Wednesday.

In a memo, Democratic Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York  told fellow Democrats "the worst may be yet to come" for Republicans when the current government-funding measure runs out Jan. 15.

Democrats believe another showdown over the budget could tip the government back into chaos and again singe Republicans, mitigating any harm done to Democrats by the disastrous Obamacare rollout, The Hill reported.

Meanwhile, Democrats also unveiled a new messaging push that highlights failed GOP policy attempts — including immigration reform, the 16-day government shutdown, and a new ban on certain abortions — as evidence Republicans are the "same extreme, ideological and out-of-touch party that turned voters away" in 2012, Democratic National Committee spokesman Mike Czin told The Hill.

The DNC released an online video Wednesday, and has used web ads and events with state parties in target states like Iowa, where Rep. Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, is campaigning with Gov. Terry Branstad, The Hill reported.

And in Arkansas, Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor is turning to familiar Democratic talking points in his fight to win re-election — Medicare and Social Security, the National Journal reported.

Pryor released a new ad Wednesday blasting his presumed GOP opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton, for supporting cuts to the two entitlements. The incumbent Democrat, the spot says, wants to cut waste but is also trying to make both programs stronger, the Journal reported.

Cotton's campaign said the ad just shows how desperate Pryor is.

"Sen. Pryor is already throwing a last-minute Hail Mary pass, and the election is still 12 months away. Sen. Pryor must be scared to death that his votes for Obamacare make his re-election impossible," Cotton spokesman David Ray told the Journal.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is determined to keep Obamacare front and center in the public conversation.

"Democrats are desperately trying to change the topic but their efforts are falling flat. For the next year they will be forced to explain why they continue to support the train wreck that is Obamacare," NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek told The Hill.

Democrats have taken note: Every Senate Democrat running for re-election in a red state has signed onto a bill introduced by Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana — herself a top target of the GOP for 2014 — that would ensure Americans can keep their current plans under Obamacare, The Hill noted.

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