Top Democrat predicts August healthcare bump in the polls

The third-ranking House Democrat on Tuesday touted the party’s
efforts to sell the healthcare law, predicting voters would
see “a big difference” from the opposition-dominated town halls of last summer.

“We’re going to go out to the American people and let them
know exactly what’s in the bill,” Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters
after the House Democratic caucus’s weekly meeting.

{mosads}“I think you’re going to see a big difference this August
than last August,” Clyburn, the Democratic whip, said, referring to the heated
town hall meetings that nearly derailed the healthcare push in 2009.

With polls showing a majority of Americans don’t
support the healthcare bill enacted last month, Democrats have launched a
public relations campaign to educate voters about its benefits before the
midterm elections in November.

Small business
advocates joined Democrats at the caucus meeting. Clyburn appeared with a South Carolina radio host and
an advocate with the Small Business Majority, a group that backed the healthcare bill. The congressman said Democrats would need to rely on allies to help
educate the public, particularly because a large portion of the country will probably hear only criticism about the bill from lawmakers that opposed it in

“That’s why it’s important to bring along third-party validators” who
can go into districts whose representatives voted against the bill, Clyburn

He said he planned to meet with constituents in small groups
rather than large town halls, but he said he was not necessarily advising
his colleagues to avoid the town hall format, which conservatives successfully
used to publicize voter anger about the Democratic bill last year.


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