Democrats' Favorite F-Word for Obamacare

Democrats are campaigning to “fix” Obamacare in the face of Republican attacks.

Mark Begich, Kay Hagan and other politically vulnerable Democrats are using the F-word to describe their thoughts about Obamacare.


"When I think about the health care law, frustrated, disappointed, you can put a lot of words towards it, but every day I work to try to fix it because the way Alaskans operate, we come together to learn how to solve the problems and move forward," Begich says in a radio ad that's titled — wait for it — "Fix It." (A pro-Begich super-PAC aired a TV ad in April that more explicitly supports the law and Begich's vote for it.)

Democrats say their keep-and-fix approach resonates more with voters than the Republicans' repeal-and-replace position.

Voters "don't want to relitigate this; they want to fix it if it needs fixing in certain places," Obama pollster Joel Benenson said at a breakfast Thursday with Bloomberg reporters and editors. "But there's nothing that I've seen in any of the data I've conducted and looked at over six years around this issue that says people want to repeal Obamacare."

Republicans continue to run against Obamacare in their campaigns, if somewhat less intensely than earlier in the election cycle, as they seek to link Democrats to Obama in states and districts that the president lost two years ago.

In Alaska, an ad for Begich's Republican opponent Dan Sullivan brandishes the incumbent's vote for Obamacare in a state that the president lost by 14 percentage points in the 2012 election.


“At a time when Alaskans are facing thousands of cancellation notices and the highest insurance premium increase in the country, Begich is rubbing his support for the disastrous law in their face," Mike Anderson, a spokesman for Sullivan's campaign, said in a statement responding to Begich's ad.

"Obamacare is Obama and Obama is Obamacare; they're one and the same," Republican pollster Neil Newhouse said at a National Journal political briefing last week. "It's a motivation issue for our base; it reminds voters why this election is important, why they need to go out and vote. It's more of a base issue than necessarily a persuasion issue. It's a stimulation issue. I think you'll see some campaigns go back to it late."

In the meantime, more examples of Democrats employing the F-word:

North Carolina

Hagan, in a debate Tuesday with Republican opponent Thom Tillis, said that “commonsense fixes” need to be made to the law that, if repealed, would bring back a “broken system.”


Here's Senator Mark Warner using the f-word three times in his answer to an Obamacare question during a debate Tuesday:

Arizona's 2nd District

Representative Ron Barber, who comes from a politically competitive district in southern Arizona, invoked the F-word in a debate Tuesday as a triangulation strategy, positioning himself between people promoting a straight repeal and others who would leave the law as is.

“There are a lot of benefits in the Affordable Care Act, but there are a lot of things about it that need fixing,” said Barber, who’s among nine Democrats nationwide from districts Obama didn’t win in 2012. Barber’s race against Republican Martha McSally, a rematch of their close 2012 contest, is among the nation's 17 tossup House elections in the nonpartisan Cook Political Report's latest canvass.

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