Democrats Leaving No GOP Health Care Critique Unchallenged

Posted November 20, 2009 at 9:27pm

With the Senate preparing to vote Saturday on whether to consider a $848 billion health care overhaul bill, national Democrats on Friday launched a rapid response system aimed at blunting each GOP criticism of the bill.

Throughout Friday, Republicans and Democrats took to the floor to make their cases, alternating between calling for an open debate on Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) bill and denouncing it as an expensive expansion of the federal government.

As part of Democrats’ efforts to tamp down GOP resistance to the bill, the Democratic National Committee on Friday sent out a flurry of press releases, using its e-mail list to contradict floor speeches and televised comments made by Republicans throughout the day and evening.

By 9:30 p.m. Friday, the DNC had sent out more than a dozen “fact checks— and other responses to statements of Republican Senators, targeting leaders such as Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) as well as rank-and-file Members such as freshman Sen. George LeMieux (Fla.). The fact that the DNC would target a Member like LeMieux — who has only been in the Senate a few months and is not running for re-election — appeared to indicate Democrats were leaving no criticism unchecked.

The rebuttals targeted specific talking points used by Republicans as well as made broader charges of “fear-mongering— or outright lying. For instance, one “fact check— accused Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) of using “falsehoods and fear-mongering to claim health insurance reform will lead to rationing.—

With all 40 Republicans expected to vote against the bill, Reid will need all 60 Democrats and Independents on board to bring the legislation to the floor.

But at least two Democrats, Sens. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Mary Landrieu (La.), have not declared how they will vote, and Republicans and Democrats have been waging an intense messaging war to sway them, as well as voters across the country.

The final vote on whether to consider the bill is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday.

A DNC spokesperson did not return a request for comment.