President Obama said “that’s on me,” when discussing the bungled rollout of Obamacare in November, and the National Republican Congressional Committee (or, NRCC) is seeking to tie this Presidential responsibility to Democrats seeking re-election. The strategy manifested itself in three ads, unveiled Tuesday, targeting three incumbent Democrats who supported the Affordable Care Act. The ads will air on the radio.
The Representatives at the center of the ads are: Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Nick Rahall (D-W. Va.), and Carol Shea-Porter (D-N. H.). “Sabato’s Crystal Ball” a feature of The University of Virginia’s Center for Politics that tracks and makes predictions about elections, also gives classifications of competitiveness for races.
Peters and Shea-Porter are both in “toss-ups,” and Rahall is slightly more safe, with a mood defined as “leans Democrat.” In 2012, the Crystal Ball accurately predicted 97 percent of the House, Senate, and Gubernatorial races.
That makes these three districts races Republicans believe they may be able to take from the Democrats. Being associated with President Obama and his signature piece of legislation could be damaging for Democratic candidates.
In a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, respondents gave Obama a 43/54 percent approval/disapproval rating. This is the highest disapproval rating for Obama in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, and only 1 percent higher in approval than the lowest rating, 42 percent. A full 50 percent are disappointed, or disatisfied with the President, and 58 percent say the health care law has shaped their opinion of Obama.
To target Rahall, clips of remarks by Obama and Rahall are played, back-to-back, to show there is no difference between the Representative’s views and the President’s. Specifically, the ad uses Rahall parroting the message that people would be able to keep their healthcare plan, and that both men think that those losing coverage may benefit from coverage provided under Obamacare.
The ads against Shea-Porter and Peters carry almost the same message. Each makes it clear that what was promised to voters is not being delivered. The ads say that people are going to lose coverage, and doctors, under Obamacare. In the Peters ad, the example of a 62-year old woman who was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago is given. Her insurance has been cancelled and she cannot see her doctors, the ad claims.
In his press conference, President Obama acknowledged the difficulty Democrats will face in 2014. ”There is no doubt that our failure to roll out the ACA smoothly has put a burden on Democrats, whether they’re running or not, because they stood up and supported this effort through thick and thin,” Obama said, “And I feel deeply responsible for making it harder for them rather than easier for them to continue to promote the core values that I think led them to support this thing in the first place.” In October, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee used the government shutdown when running ads against ten Republican lawmakers.