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Democratic strategy: Blame insurance companies, 'they are a fantastic enemy'

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Barack Obama,Obamacare,Democratic Party,Health Care,Polls

Democrats and President Obama are being urged to go on the offense to save Obamacare and blame insurance companies for making them look like liars when they promised that costs wouldn’t surge and Americans could keep their policies and doctors.

“For the life of me, I do not understand why we as Democrats are not aggressively blaming that on the insurance companies,” said Celinda Lake, a top Democratic pollster. “They are a fantastic enemy in this.”

Lake, who with Republican pollster Ed Goeas on Monday released the highly anticipated George Washington University Battleground Poll, called on the president to stop focusing on the failed Obamacare website and address the much bigger issues about costs and policies.

“We ought to say, ‘The insurance companies are absolutely undermining this,' and they don't want to have policies that meet the minimum requirements and we're not going to stand for it,” said Lake, head of Lake Research.

It’s an approach the White House hasn’t taken yet. Instead, the administration has been trying to fix the website and quietly concurring that insurance companies are only doing what the Obamacare law demanded in canceling policies that don’t offer everything required in the law.

Lake said the president should use his credibility on the health care issue to demand more from the companies. “I don’t understand why we aren’t being more aggressive, on the offense,” she said. “It’s beyond me why Democrats don’t go after insurance companies for engaging in these practices. We’ve always said we’ll see what works and we’ll fix what doesn’t. Well, this is something we should fix.”

During the release of the poll, made during a media breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Goeas said that Obama is in jeopardy of losing his overall credibility and ability to lead the nation.

He noted that Obama is no longer liked by a big majority and, when added to his poor approval numbers, faces a crisis, especially since his sales pitch on Obamacare has turned out to be false. “The president no longer has a reservoir of personal goodwill that he can use to turn around dissatisfaction about his job performance,” said Goeas, head of the Tarrance Group.

“What is going on with health care right now has the potential of Barack Obama losing the trust of the American people because too many people heard him say that if you like your doctor, you will keep your doctor; if you like your health care, you will keep your health care,” said Goeas.

Citing recent polling history, he added, “Once a president loses the trust of the American people in a second term, they never gain it back.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.