Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi rejected the premise that Democrat Alex Sink's loss to Republican David Jolly in Tuesday night's Florida special election was a referendum on Obamacare.
"I'm very proud of our House Democrats, not only how they've embraced the Affordable Care Act, because they helped create it, but how proud they are of it," the California Democrat said at her weekly news conference Thursday morning. "I think the Republicans are wasting their time using that as their election issue and they will find that out."
Pelosi also praised Sink, noting that the race was close and it was a district Republicans had held for 50 years.
"Our candidate Alex Sink, she was so excellent, she was so superb, and she said it just right: There are many good things about the Affordable Care Act that are good for the health and wellbeing for the American people, there are some things that need to be fixed," Pelosi countered. "And that is the message of our members." Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York has lobbied Sink to run again in November. House Republican leaders on Wednesday celebrated Sink's defeat as a sign that, come the midterms in November, voters will elect more candidates to office based on where they stand on the controversial 2010 health care law.
“You cannot spin away the election of last night,” House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California said on Wednesday. “The libertarian on the ballot, you had [Democrats'] ideal candidate, ran for governor, this is the seat the president carried both times.
“Last week, we had on the floor the individual mandate delay,” McCarthy continued, seeking to underscore Democrats’ mounting frustration with the rocky roll-out of the health law. “Five more Democrats joined with us [since the last delay vote last summer]. 22, 27.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also asserted Wednesday that the Affordable Care Act did not play a decisive role in the close election result.