Senate Republicans are turning the results of Tuesday’s Missouri healthcare referendum into a fundraising pitch.
Slightly more than 71 percent of Missouri primary voters on Tuesday rejected a mandate that they buy health insurance. The mandate was included in the Democrats' healthcare reform bill, which passed in March.
The White House on Wednesday flatly dismissed the results. Asked what it means that voters in Missouri would vote against the federal mandate, spokesman Robert Gibbs said: "Nothing."
John Cornyn (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, took issue with Gibbs's comment. "This arrogance and political tone deafness from the Obama White House is simply astounding," he wrote in an e-mail solicitation for donations.
"That the White House has shown such blatant disregard for the votes cast by Missourians as 'nothing' is startling, and it should make clear just how out-of-touch the Obama Administration and Democrats are with average Americans," he added.
In reality, the result of the Missouri referendum is largely for show, since the nation's courts — not popular opinion — will decide whether the federal government can in fact impose such a mandate. Democrats have argued the bill is increasingly popular following their nonstop efforts to sell its benefits over the past four months. But Republicans have seized on the Missouri vote as a sign of unease with the legislation, much of which has yet to be implemented.
—Julian Pecquet and Sam Youngman contributed to this post.