Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dems launch $125M health campaign

From Mike Allen of Politico on June 7:

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Victoria Kennedy — widow of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) — are expected to be named co-chairmen of a $125 million campaign that White House allies are rolling out to defend health care reform amid growing signs Democrats are failing to get political traction on the issue.

The extraordinary campaign, which could provide an unprecedented amount of cover for a White House in a policy debate, reflects urgency among Democrats to explain, defend and depoliticize health care reform now that people are beginning to feel the new law’s effects.

The Health Information Center is being started by Andrew Grossman, a veteran Democratic operative who founded Wal-Mart Watch, a labor-backed group to challenge the world’s largest retailer on employee relations and other fronts.

Grossman told POLITICO that the lessons of Wal-Mart Watch will be helpful on health reform. “When you treat people with respect and try to understand how they interact with businesses and politics, you can move them,” he explained.

The estimated budget is $25 million a year for five years. And Grossman has already begun raising money from unions, foundations and corporations.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will kick off a series of high-profile health care reform events ahead of the November elections. The job will continue as long as he’s president, because the biggest provisions don’t kick in until 2014.


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