Topics: Obamacare

Democratic Senate candidates Michelle Nunn and Natalie Tennant refuse to back Obamacare

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Obamacare,Georgia,West Virginia,2014 Elections,Campaigns,Michelle Nunn

Embattled politicians such as Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., are trying to make the best of their vote in favor of Obamacare, but Democratic Senate candidates who weren't in office when the law passed are happy to stay away from it.

Case in point: Michelle Nunn, who hopes to win the seat vacated by retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., refused to tell whether she would have voted for Obamacare in 2010.

“So, at the time the Affordable Health Care Act was passed, I was working for Points of Light," she demurred when when NBC News' Kasie Hunt asked in an interview that aired on Morning Joe. "I wished that we had more people who had tried to architect a bipartisan legislation."

When Hunt followed up, Nunn explained that hindsight, far from being 20/20, actually makes things more obscure for her.

"I think it's impossible to look back retrospectively and say, 'What would you have done when you were there?' " Nunn said.

That could be just one bad answer, except that another Democratic candidate who had the privilege of being out of office when the law passed used a similar talking point.

"The fact is, I didn't vote for it," West Virginia Senate hopeful Natalie Tennant told MSNBC last week. "I didn't have an opportunity to debate it. And had I, I would have stood up for West Virginia and said we need more than one provider. We need choice. We need competition because our rates are higher."

National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring attributes those answers to the political dynamic portrayed by a new Politico survey showing that "in states where the 2014 elections will be decided, nearly half of voters say they favor outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act."

Nunn and Tennant's answers, coming from red-state Democrats who were out of office in 2010, are similar enough that — call me crazy — it almost makes me wonder if the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has encouraged their candidates to stay away from the law. Or maybe they adopted that campaign tactic on their own, without suggestion from the top.

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