As you might have expected, President Obama wasted no time on Tuesday afternoon trumpeting the 7.1 million people who signed up for Obamacare — and rubbing it in the faces of everyone who said it wouldn't happen.
Speaking from the Rose Garden with Vice President Biden at his side, Obama appeared to be nearly as excited as the crowd. "Despite several lost weeks out of the gate because of problems with the website, 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through the marketplaces," Obama said, punctuating the "7.1" to applause. At least once, a camera popped up out of the audience to take his picture as he spoke; he was among friends. The numbers who'd gotten insurance were bigger than that and would keep rising, he said, pointing to the millions of young people who stayed on their parents' insurance plans, those who enrolled in Medicaid, and those who would join in the future. He told some anecdotes about people whose lives had been changed, like Jeannie, a bartender from Pennsylvania.
And then he started calling people out. Like:
"The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay," he said, to more applause. "And those who have based their entire political agenda on repealing it have to explain why Jeannie should go back to being uninsured." That's the argument against any calls for repeal in a nutshell: no politician wants to tell any of the 7 million enrollees in their districts that they're about to lose coverage.
"In the end," the president said, "history is not kind to those who would deny Americans their basic economic security. Nobody remembers well those who stand in the way of America's progress or our people. That's what the Affordable Care Act represents."
You may have heard that the last day of enrollments were marred with some Healthcare.gov glitches. Many websites, like, um, The Wire, covered it. Obama made fun of the media's skepticism, too.
"I want to make sure everybody understands in the months, years ahead … there will be additional challenges to implementing this law. There will be days when the website stumbles. I guarantee it. So, press, I just want you to anticipate: there will be some moment when the website is down and I know it will be on all of your front pages. It's going to happen. It won't be news."
The Koch Brothers
"We didn't make a hard sell. We didn't have billions of dollars to spend on commercials like our critics did," Obama said. Which is obviously a pointed reference to the Koch brothers and, more specifically, the efforts of Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity, which has spent a pretty penny on anti-Obamacare ads.
But the president is somewhat underselling his own marketing efforts which, on Monday alone, involved getting a healthy number of celebrities on-board with tweeting or mentioning enrollment. (Like Ms. Silverman.) If that's not a hard sell, Republicans aren't going to want to see the hard sell.
As recently as last August, the former Alaska governor was still claiming that she was right in 2009 about the existence of Obamacare "death panels."
Obama today: "Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance? Why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance. Many of the tall tales that have been told about this law have been debunked. There are still no death panels."
Burn. Victory lap complete. And right now, everyone listed above is double-checking to make sure that "goeth" is spelled G-O-E-T-H.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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