White House Launches PR Campaign to Save Obamacare
President Obama was in his element in the White House Friday, relishing the role of Campaigner in Chief in a new effort to save Obamacare.
The scene was familiar. First there was the grandeur of the East Room, a reminder of the pomp and power of the presidency. Second was the usual human backdrop of supporters gathered to exploit the message of the moment. Third was the president himself, speaking with vigor and even anger to defend the righteousness of his cause.
The event was staged to kick off a major public relations campaign to boost the flagging effort to implement Obamacare. Never one to miss the opportunity to piggyback on national sentiment, the president delivered his message in the context of Mother’s Day.
The message was crafted to reach two key Obama constituencies that helped him win reelection, women and young people. The President touted the benefits Obamacare brings to women’s health issues and urged the assembled moms to encourage their children to sign up for the plan’s insurance exchanges.
This is a crucial challenge to the success of Obamacare. As the president claimed in a recent press conference, 85 to 90 percent of the adult population already is enjoying the benefits of Obamacare. It’s those 30 million or so uninsured he’s worried about.
Obamacare won’t work unless healthy 18 to 35 year olds buy health insurance through the exchanges due to begin operation on October 1. Only then can the program begin to pay for the uninsured.
Obamacare faces a host of problems. There is the startling revelation reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation that 4 in 10 Americans don’t even know that Obamacare is the law of the land and about to be implemented. Then there is the bureaucratic challenge of setting up insurance exchanges nationwide. Finally, there is the challenge of convincing individuals and businesses that Obamacare is a good deal.
That’s where Campaigner in Chief comes in to help save the day. It’s hard to imagine that the president anticipated the need to take to the stump to convince and even inform the public of the benefits of a program he signed into law on more than three years ago. But now he’s stuck with the job.
The president laced his remarks Friday with old-fashioned campaign rhetoric. He warned the audience to beware of “misinformation” spread by bipartisan critics.
“Don’t let people confuse you,” the president said. “Don’t let them run the okie doke on you. Don’t be bamboozled.”
The president’s public relations push will stretch over the summer, using many of the techniques that served him well in his reelection. These include presidential appearances and speeches in carefully selected locations before sympathetic audiences.
For example, watch for the president to make his pitch in California, Florida, and Texas, the home states of a large share of the millions of healthy but uninsured young people Obama needs to help fund his healthcare plan.
The president loves to campaign. In fact, he sees every issue, be it healthcare, gun control, or immigration reform, as an opportunity to hit the campaign trail, complete with soaring rhetoric and partisan jabs. The effort to save Obamacare is only the president’s latest chance to fulfill his favorite role as Campaigner in Chief.
During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.