Kanjorski Says Obama, Leaders Fell Short on Messaging

Posted September 27, 2010 at 12:53pm

Rep. Paul Kanjorski on Monday said Democratic leaders and President Barack Obama “really failed” to educate the public on health care reform and other signature issues, which he claimed has contributed to his own tough re-election campaign.

During a CNBC interview, the Pennsylvania Democrat dismissed the idea that Americans are “unappreciative” of Democrats’ legislative successes, including passage of the stimulus, financial reform, education finance reform and health care reform. Instead, he said, Democratic leaders should have done a better job explaining what those reforms will do.

“The problem is, and perhaps I should blame that on my party’s leadership or the president, you don’t only have an obligation and a role to legislate in a democracy such as ours. You have an obligation to educate. And that, we really failed to do,” Kanjorski said.

He said misconceptions about health care reform are swirling in his district at a time when he is facing “the toughest” re-election campaign of his 25-year career.

In one instance, he said, a pharmaceutical industry group launched a half-million-dollar campaign that accuses him of cutting a half-trillion dollars out of Medicare.

That accusation is “really stupid,” Kanjorski said, since the only cuts that health care reform made to Medicare relate to cutting into “the unfair profits of the insurance industry.”

The bottom line is that “you’ve got people that are benefiting phenomenally from the health care bill. And they have absolutely no idea,” he said.