As his signature piece of legislation rapidly collapses in a painful, costly and humiliating heap, President Barack Obama heads to New York Friday in search of more 2014 campaign funds, leaving his deputies behind to manage the Obamacare debacle.
The president is flying to his two New York fundraisers on Air Force One gratis because he’s also got a quick non-partisan stop at a local high school.
At the school, named Pathways in Technology Early College High School, “the President will tour a classroom and discuss the importance of ensuring that the next generation of middle class American workers and entrepreneurs have the skills they need to compete and win in a global economy,” said his schedule, released late Thursday.
Obama is expected to say something inspiring and non-partisan to the students before he leaves to meet his wealthy donors.
On Thursday night, Obama met with 30 donors, who paid up to $32,400 per head, at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington D.C. He’s already held more than 20 fundraisers so far this year, according to CBS Radio.
The fundraising is intended to fuel his accelerating campaign to win back the House of Representatives, now under GOP control.
Democrats are hopeful that they can grab a majority in the House, and preserve their majority in the Senate in the November 2014 elections. If they win, Obama gets another two-year chance to fulfill his 2008 promise of “fundamentally transforming” the United States.
However, Obama’s campaign plans are being threatened by major problems in his hugely ambitious 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is forcing nearly all Americans to buy government-designed health-benefit plans.
The program’s website has been crippled since opening day, Oct. 1. That high-profile failure means that relatively few Americans can buy new health-plans to replace the insurance plans that are now being canceled by Obamacare regulations. (Related: Health insurance cancellation notices soar above Obamacare enrollment rates)
The website’s problems were highlighted by a House hearing Thursday, where the GOP slammed Obama’s management of his health care transformation.
Democratic legislators are worried by the growing price of the government-designed Obamacare benefit plans. That’s a major political headache in low-regulation states, such as North Carolina, or rural areas, where voters’ health-care prices are rising fast.
But Democrats are also using their new power over the nation’s health-care sector to make higher-profile political gestures. For example, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Oct. 14 that “in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, both the White House North Portico and Naval Observatory Anchor will be lit pink.”
The spokesman worked in a plug for Obamacare while discussing a token of support that has already been demonstrated by everybody from high school students to Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. “Breast cancer touches every corner of the United States… Under the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans fully cover recommended screenings, [for breast cancer] and insurers are prohibited from setting lifetime dollar limits,” Carney told the reporters. (Related: How much of the NFL breast cancer gear revenue actually goes to research?)
Obama is also trying to boost his support among low-wage Latinos, who strongly back the government-subsidized benefit plans in the Obamacare program.
On Thursday morning, Obama held a campaign-style rally at the White House where he called for increased immigration and an amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants. The speech, which was closely covered by Spanish-language TV stations, was likely intended to push Latinos to vote in the 2014 elections. (Related: Obama rallies immigration advocates for 2014 race)
He started the East Room speech with a partisan blast at the GOP. “The shutdown and the threat of the first default in more than 200 years inflicted real pain on our businesses and on families. … It was a completely unnecessary, self-inflicted wound with real costs to real people, and it can never happen again,” he declared, while downplaying his own role in the clash.
Obama recycled his “fired up” language from the 2012 campaign. “You look fired up to make the next push. … I want you to keep working, and I’m going to be right next to you, to make sure we get immigration reform done,” he said, almost shouting, as he concluded his campaign rally.