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« Tennessee Rep. Bart Gordon (D) To Retire | Blog Home Page | Dems Slam Kirk For Earmark Hypocrisy »

RNC Launches Campaign Touting Health Care Opposition

RNC Chairman Michael Steele acknowledged today that "some folks were a little bit surprised" when he issued a strategy memo last week touting Republicans' efforts to stop or slow down the progress of health care reform legislation on Capitol Hill. But he and the RNC are reinforcing that message now in a new campaign being launched that aims to, in Steele's words, amplify the voices of an American public that is strongly opposed to Democrats' plans.

"Those town halls were about something this summer, ladies and gentlemen," Steele said at a press conference at the party's headquarters near the Capitol. "They want their leadership to listen to them. ... And there hasn't been a lot of listening going on."

To that end, the RNC's new "Listen To Me" effort will be a "grass-roots" effort aimed at pressuring wary Democrats (and potentially some Republicans) to side against the bill. Staff will be deployed to six states -- North Dakota, Nebraska, Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana and Connecticut -- that are home to the senators and Congressmen who largely will determine the final bill's fate. There's also a new radio ad being launched Wednesday in which Steele himself says Democrats know Americans are against the bill, but are "arrogantly trying to jam it down our throats."

"The American people certainly have a right to ask these Senators and all members of Congress to listen to them. And in these states, we will do everything we can to help people get their elected representatives to listen," the prolific chairman said today.

Steele also acknowledged that while Republicans have largely held firm in their opposition to the proposed legislation, ultimately it's the unease of a number of Democrats that is holding up final passage.

"They have the lever of power in their hand, and yet at every turn they look at others to blame," he said. "While Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid would talk about the Republicans stalling, as I've said repeatedly, you have the votes. Pass the bill. ... The fact that with a 60-40 advantage in the Senate you're looking to Republicans either to blame or to provide you with the vote you need tells me that there's something desperately wrong with the bill."