Tuesday Must-Reads: Refining the Message

The White House is tweaking its health care message, launching a new website to combat critics of President Obama’s proposed overhaul.

The White House is tweaking its health care message, launching a new website to combat critics of President Obama’s proposed overhaul. From The New York Times… But aides to Mr. Obama said the rapidly escalating threat to his health care plans had led him to order them to come up with a crisper message. And Democratic Party officials enlisted in the fight by the White House acknowledged in interviews that the growing intensity of the opposition to the president’s health care plans — within the last week likened on talk radio to something out of Hitler’s Germany, lampooned by protesters at Congressional town-hall-style meetings and vilified in television commercials — had caught them off guard and forced them to begin an August counteroffensive.   The website, www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck, features a slew of videos from administration officials directly refuting what the White House calls “disinformation” about its health care plan. In a sample below, Linda Douglass tells voters the Obama plan will not force people to abandon their current health coverage… Meanwhile the president is in New Hampshire today for another townhall to test out the new strategy of directly and forcefully taking on the administration’s health care critics. Here’s yet another view on the potential rise of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin—USA Today contributor Don Campbell sees a potential path to the presidency for Palin if she follows the Reagan playbook… Roaming the Reagan library for a day would have been a good start for Palin. Spending weeks studying Reagan's rise to power would be even better. She could profit from learning that Reagan was a good listener, a quick study, a man who liked to delegate but who didn't hesitate to make big decisions, a quintessential Mr. Nice Guy who was deeply committed to values that Palin shares. She would learn that while he was uninterested in the California governorship except as a pit stop on the way to the White House, he nonetheless accepted lengthy professional coaching on state issues and how to address them in knowledgeable sound bites. If Palin wants to be taken seriously as a presidential contender, she'll accept the same kind of coaching on national and international issues. The one piece of advice that Palin would be wise to follow is Campbell’s suggestion that she surround herself with “a cadre of wrinkled, first-class political advisers.” Good news for Jon Corzine in New Jersey? Sort of. A new Quinnipiac University poll out Tuesday has Corzine trailing by a slightly slimmer margin than in polls over the past month. Republican challenger Chris Christie leads Corzine 51 percent to 42 percent in this latest poll. The bad news for the incumbent is that his approval rating is still woeful—just 36 percent.    And Sen. Roland Burris may be backtracking on his promise to not run for a full term in the U.S. Senate from Illinois. Last month, Burris said he would not run for the seat he was appointed to by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. But in a TV interview Burris indicated that he could change his mind, which would prove a major headache for Democrats. Shane D'Aprile is senior editor at Politics magazine. sdaprile@politicsmagazine.com

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