On Monday, the Republican National Committee launched a 30-second ad called “The Grand Experiment” in markets in Arkansas, Nevada and North Dakota. The spot links the president’s proposed health care reforms to what it calls a failed economic stimulus bill, calling health care reform a “risky experiment” that will drive up the national debt. It also directs viewers to a Web site called “The Barack Obama Experiment” aimed at gathering supporters.
Watch the ad here.
Republican leaders picked up the theme of “risky experiment” from a widely-circulated memo earlier this month by Republican strategist Alex Castellanos. In an event at the National Press Club, RNC chairman Michael Steele said that Obama “is conducting a reckless experiment with our economy.”
Some Republicans have sensed an opportunity in the face of a new Washington Post/ABC news poll that showed President Obama’s approval ratings on health care have slipped below 50 percent for the first time.
William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, told Republicans it’s time to “go for the kill.”
“We have plenty of time to work next year on sensible and targeted health reform in a bipartisan way,” he wrote. “But first we need to get rid of Obamacare. Now is the time to do so.”
President Obama has responded directly to his critics, renewing his public campaign for health care reform in a series of speeches and interviews.
In a speech at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, he said, “The need for reform is urgent, and it is indisputable.”
He also directly addressed comments by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who had said that health care reform could be the president’s “Waterloo.”
“Just the other day, one Republican senator said, and I’m quoting him now, ‘If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.’ Think about that,” the president said. “This isn’t about me, this isn’t about politics. This is about a health care system that is breaking America’s families, breaking America’s businesses, and breaking America’s economy.”
However, the president hinted in an interview last night on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer that his deadline of delivering legislation before Congress’ August recess was not set in stone.
“I want this done now,” he said. But he added: “If somebody comes to me and says, ‘It’s basically done; it’s going to spill over by a few days or a week’ — you know, that’s different.”
Watch an excerpt of the interview here.