Mark Ambinder reports:
A White House official conceded today that Obama would have to weather anger from liberals for a while.
More worrisome, officials said, was the growing belief that Obama’s brand is being tarnished. A new Pew poll shows that voters don’t think Obama is working with Republican leaders, and that a plurality blame Republican leaders. They believe that Obama’s favorability rating declines, largely from independents (and within that group, women), can be reversed if he reminds these voters of the bipartisan instincts in his bones.
Another Pew poll finding underscores a second White House strategy: because conservatives are paying more attention to the health care debate than liberals, the White House needs to double down on its efforts to convince liberals that passing health care will be a major accomplishment. That’s one reason why Obama will be speaking directly to his Organizing for America base tomorrow.
House Democrats are on a different track, and it’s hard to see how it intersects with the White House’s. Leaders plan to redouble the sales pitch for a public plan, reasoning that if they can move public opinion a few degrees — largely by exciting liberals — they can help their colleagues respond to conservative pressure. Privately, White House aides have communicated to the House leadership that the onus on changing minds about the public plan is on Congress, not on the president.
It appears to me that the House is on our side in this fight. The White House wants a bill that it can sign, and they don’t want to keep giving out the impression that the whole bill is a failure if it doesn’t have the public option. They’re trying to dial back expectations, not double-down. So, it’s up to us to have the House’s back. We know what to do.