Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel admits weak messaging on health care from White House

Jon Ward Contributor
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President Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said Monday that the White House has inadequately communicated with Americans about health-care reform.

“We have to do a better job of explaining to the American people the principle things they will get out of this,” Emanuel said, on MSNBC’s inaugural episode of “Daily Rundown.”

Pressed on why poll numbers show such low support for the administration’s reforms, Emanuel said that “part of it is the message not getting through, part of it is people not watching the legislative process very good.”

Emanuel’s comments come one day after White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer defended the administration’s messaging efforts, though his predecessor in the Obama White House, Anita Dunn, admitted a “lack of success.”

Public support for health-care reform has dropped steadily since the summer, and criticism of the White House’s messaging effort has become more widespread of late.

“I know how difficult a situation they face on messages with all the multiple players in Congress. And the fact is there still isn’t a clear health care proposal out of Congress to develop a message around,” said Lanny Davis, a former White House counsel to President Bill Clinton, recently told The Daily Caller. “Having said that, there still is a failure here.”

“The communications systems at the White House have I think disappointed a lot of people who are old pros, and I think haven’t served the president well,” he said. “The systems failure is pretty large, and I think that has contributed to [Obama’s] relative drop in the polls.”

“There isn’t a simple message that they’re putting out each week so they’re not commanding the message,” Davis continued. “That’s a remarkable failure. How is it possible for the minority party in the U.S. Senate to have more firepower in commanding the message than the White House?”

The White House did not respond to requests for further comment.

Here is video of Emanuel’s comments:

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