Hodes: healthcare reform is a 'jobs bill'

Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) knows exactly how he'll describe the Democrats' healthcare reform bill when he campaigns for Senate this fall. 

"It's a jobs bill," he told the Ballot Box shortly after casting his "yes" vote Sunday night. "Especially for New Hampshire's small businesses, they've been clobbered by premium rate increases."

Hodes will likely face former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte (R) in November and he's been trailing her in some recent polls.

But the two-term Democrat said he's confident voters will come around, in part, because it won't take long for people to feel the impact of the bill. "There are many parts of this bill that have immediate effect," Hodes said, noting that health insurance companies will no longer be able to deny a customer benefits on account of a pre-exisiting condition. 

The legislation will also reduce the deficit, he said, so tea-party activists won't be able to scold him about government spending. "The bill is paid for in a fiscally responsible manner," he said, adding: "There are going to be some clear choices in this election."

Asked if he expected President Obama to return the favor for his "yes" vote with a campaign visit this summer, Hodes smiled. "We would welcome the president and first lady, who are very popular in New Hampshire," he said.