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Documents Detail White House Involvement in Health Care Campaign

Messina and Selib “basically want to see [ads] linking HC reform to the economy and the need to do HC reform now. There were not a lot of details but we were told that we [would] be getting a phone call,” Nawar wrote, adding that she had received the phone call that day from Nicholas Baldwick, a Democratic consultant who had worked on Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Many of the groups represented at the DSCC meeting helped fund Healthy Economy Now, while others, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and America’s Health Insurance Plan, declined to participate.

Managing the group were Democratic consultants with strong ties to the 2008 Obama campaign and White House senior adviser David Axelrod’s former public relations firm.

Emails show that the “Harry and Louise” ads, which are often credited with derailing President Bill Clinton’s proposed health care overhaul, were a specific request of Rahm Emanuel, then the White House chief of staff and now Chicago mayor.

“Rahm asked for Harry and Louise ads thru third party. We’ve already contacted the agent,” Bryant Hall, a top lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said in a July 7, 2009, email.

Around that time, the set of Democratic consultants who operated Healthy Economy Now also created another group, Americans for Stable Quality Care, with a similar mission and funding source.

The GOP memo argues the documents show how closely White House officials were running Healthy Economy Now, pointing out that the group hired Axelrod’s firm to produce advertisements before the Pharmaceutical and Research Manufacturers of America came on board, even though the trade association provided the vast majority of the group’s funding.

PhRMA officials referred to the consultants running the organization as the “WH folks,” the “team working with the White House” and “WH-designated folks.”

Besides Healthy Economy Now, emails show Messina delivering detailed requests to several other organizations that were helping push the health law.

At one point, Messina was alerted to a new advertisement from the AFL-CIO that urged passage of the bill but criticized a proposed tax increase in it.

The release for the ad said the initial buy was in Washington, D.C., but would be expanded to states of key Senators. “Bill: dc buy is fine, you guys run this in key senate states and you are declaring war,” Messina wrote the AFL-CIO’s Bill Samuel in a December 2009 email.

Later that month, needing Nelson’s support for the Senate bill, Messina wrote to an AARP representative: “We need barry rand to go meet with ben nelson personally and just lay it on the line. We will be with you, we will protect you. But if you kill this bill, seniors will not forget. We are at 59, we have to have him.”

Messina also asked for the group to bolster support in Nelson’s state. “Can we get immediate robo calls into Nebraska urging nelson to vote for cloture?” he wrote.

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