Clinton tells Dems: Deal with ObamaCare drama

President Bill Clinton says Democrats would be making a “terrible mistake” if they choose not to directly confront controversy over the Affordable Care Act ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.

The former president pointed to his widely heralded speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention as an example of how his party could turn a perceived problem into an advantage, in an interview with Real Clear Politics.

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“When the president asked me to speak for him in North Carolina, I said that I would do it — but that I could only do it and be effective if he let me explain and defend the health care deal," Clinton said. 

Clinton said Democrats have “a tendency to shy away from things they had done that were unpopular, [and] talk about positions they had that were popular.”

“My own experience had convinced me — going back to '94 and even more when I was governor — that that was always a terrible mistake. That you had to turn in toward all controversies and embrace them — even if you said you were wrong or a mistake was made. You couldn't not deal with it."

Clinton’s comments were published a day after a new Associated Press survey found that only 26 percent of Americans support the Affordable Care Act — a record low. More than half of households where someone tried to enroll in coverage reported problems when they tried to sign up, an indication of the scope of early technical problems with the federal and state exchanges.

The same survey found that 38 percent of respondents remain confused by the law and that two-thirds believe the individual mandate is unfair.

Still, more than six million Americans have enrolled in insurance through the exchanges, the White House announced last week. Monday is the final day of the open enrollment period.

Republicans have said they want to make the law the key issue in the 2014 midterm elections, where they hope to retake the Senate.

“Democrats in leadership may say they are doubling down on ObamaCare but you have to wonder how many more unilateral delays their candidates running in 2014 can withstand,” Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement last week.