POLITICS

ObamaCare? What ObamaCare?

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Politics,Chris Stirewalt,Power Play

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OBAMACARE? WHAT OBAMACARE?
You’d have thought ObamaCare was some piffling little bill, not the presidency-defining, Midterm-wrecking disaster currently strewn across all four lanes of the American political highway like an overturned poultry carrier in a rush-hour ice storm. But President Obama barely found time to mention his law in his State of the Union address for this, the year when it is actually going into effect. Obama was more than 40 minutes into his speech before he even mentioned what he called “insurance reform.” Now, political wisdom dictates that one not needlessly remind voters of unhappy events, but the magnitude of ObamaCare and its centrality to his legacy would seem to demand at least a defense of the troubled law. Instead, Obama riffled through his 2012 talking points about uncontroversial provisions, ignored the central aims of the law, skipped his administration’s pratfall of a rollout entirely and fudged again on the numbers.

[AP fact-checks the State of the Union address and the GOP response]

We’re not mad, we’re just disappointed in you - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid boldly predicted in an interview with CNN ahead of the State of the Union speech that Senate Democrats facing tough re-election fights would invite the president to campaign with them. Reid said he would encourage the most vulnerable to get Obama out on the campaign trail. So, how Mark Begich of Alaska, one of the most vulnerable Democratic senators of all? Um, no. Here was Begich’s statement, issued before the presidential motorcade could get back down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House: “I was disappointed I didn’t hear what Alaskans wanted from the President tonight.  While the President delivered a lot of sound bites that may sound good in a speech, we need to hear a clear plan and commitment to economic growth. Specifically, the President missed his chance to talk about national energy security in any meaningful way.” So, no Alaskans for Obama rallies this year, then? Maybe for Arkansan Mark Pryor? “Overall, I'm disappointed with the President's State of the Union address because he was heavy on rhetoric, but light on specifics about how we can move our country forward.” That’s a negatory, good buddy. Similar sentiments issued from Democrats in other states, all offering a plaintive tone about post-peak Obamism.

[Did you see Joe Biden being very Joe Biden-y during the State of the Union? WaPo has a vice-presidential GIF for you if you missed it.]

Lean back - What about Mark Udall, a liberal senator previously though safe in Democrat-leaning Colorado? Reid told CNN he and Obama were heading to Denver soon. Is Udall hitting the hustings with Obama? Well… Udall told the network: “We’ll see what the president's schedule is. We'll see what my schedule is. But Coloradans are going to re-elect me based on my record, not the president's record, not what the president's done, but what I’ve done and how I’ve stood up for Colorado. That's the case I’m going to make to Coloradans.” Gotcha. Sounds like Obama is going to get about as warm a welcome in Colorado as he did in North Carolina.

Nothing to say - Reid was no doubt blowing snow at CNN with his boasts about Obama campaign stops. But that’s noteworthy. So is the president’s decision to barely deign to mention the law that will define him and this political era. Both Reid’s snow job and Obama’s sudden forgetfulness serve as evidence of how far out to sea Democrats are on the big issue of this election year. Reid’s pledge will haunt his fellow Democrats all year as they jump back from the presence of the embattled president. And Obama’s decision to start trying to move past ObamaCare while the law remains a shambles will make him more embattled still.

[Pick Six - The current status quo in Washington depends on Democrats preventing Republicans from gaining six Senate seats in November’s midterm elections. With Democrats trying to protect a dozen or so potentially vulnerable seats, which six do you think are the most likely to flip? Based on Fox News First reader e-mails and tweets, the consensus is (in order of times selected): Arkansas, Montana, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Carolina and Alaska. Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.]

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