U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison is among a group of Senate and House Democrats teaming with the White House on a campaign to tout benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
The White House and Democratic allies will highlight a potential benefit of President Obama's health care law each day, aiming to remind voters of elements that Democrats say would disappear if Republican repeal efforts are successful.
The Obama administration is hoping the strategy will help shift public opinion after the law's rocky rollout.
Though a majority of Democratic and independent voters don’t support Republican efforts to repeal or defund the law, national polls show the electorate isn’t happy with the Affordable Care Act’s problems.
Millions of Americans, including an estimated 140,000 Minnesotans, have received cancellation notices from their health insurance companies, violating a key promise from the president that if “you like your plan you can keep it.”
Democrats acknowledge the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect. During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Ellison predicted that people will turn their attention to the law's benefits as the healthcare.gov website's troubles diminish.
“I’m working to make sure Minnesotans and working families around the country have the facts about health care reform,” Ellison said in a statement. “Now individuals and families will have free preventive care, no more lifetime cost limits, and an end to the days when insurance companies could take away your health care when you got sick.”
The messaging will continue until December 23, the deadline for people to enroll for January coverage.
Thus far, Republicans have mocked the effort, saying they’re ready to train the spotlight on the law’s shortcomings. The National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of U.S. House Republicans, said the “strike team” that Ellison belongs to is “Congress’ liberal all-star team.”
“We look forward to talking about the law even more than Democrats do,” said Matt Gorman, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
The people have spoken, and Popcorn is America's turkey.
President Obama officially pardoned the Minnesota-born bird Wednesday afternoon. Popcorn edged out flockmate Caramel in a popularity contest, after the White House turned the job of choosing the official National Thanksgiving Turkey over to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
"The office of the presidency -- the most powerful position in the world -- brings with it many awesome and solemn responsibilities. This is not one of them," joked the president, who was joined by daughters Sasha and Malia for the annual rite. "Generally speaking, Thanksgiving is a bad day to be a turkey. Especially at a house with two dogs. So I salute our two guests of honor -- Caramel and Popcorn -- for their bravery."
The people had spoken -- for #TeamCaramel or #TeamPopcorn -- and Popcorn, a splendid white puffball, carried the day.
"The competition was stiff, but we can officially declare that Popcorn is the winner -- proving that even a turkey with a funny name can find a place in politics," Obama said. "As for Caramel, he’s sticking around, and he’s already busy raising money for his next campaign."
Caramel may have lost the popularity contest, but he won a pardon anyway. The big birds will spend the rest of the holidays at George Washington's home, on display as part of the annual Christmas at Mount Vernon celebration. Then they'll retire to Morven Park’s Turkey Hill Farm in Leesburg, Va.
John Burkel of Badger, Minn., chairman of thee National Turkey Federation, raised Caramel, Popcorn and Minnesota's official Thanksgiving turkey (who ended up in a St. Paul Salvation Army kitchen.) The birds' names were chose by Roseau County schoolchildren and a group of Badger High School students joined Burkel at the White House Wednesday.
As Obama pardoned the birds, he announced that two replacement turkeys, already dressed, would be donated to a nearby Washington, D.C., food shelf.
"Popcorn, you have a full reprieve from cranberry sauce and stuffing. We wish you well," he said. "And we’re going to give Carmel a break as well."
A Minnesota native helped negotiate the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.
Jake Sullivan, Vice President Biden’s national security adviser, had a critical role in the top-secret talks that helped end a decades-long diplomatic impasse between Iran and five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom and France -- plus Germany.
According to The Associated Press, Sullivan and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns were hand-picked by President Obama to lead secret meetings with Iranian officials and complete the deal, which was reached late Saturday.
The historic breakthrough dials back Iran's ability to develop a nuclear weapon while also relaxing international sanctions that have crippled the country’s economy. The preliminary deal is intended to give Iran and the negotiating powers time to negotiate a more comprehensive agreement.
Sullivan has served as Biden’s national security adviser and a deputy assistant to President Obama since February. A Minneapolis Southwest High School graduate with undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University, Sullivan has also worked as chief counsel to U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School and an advisor during Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Two Minnesota turkeys went to Washington. Only one will leave with a presidential pardon.
The White House is leaving it up to social media to decide which of the two Minnesota birds -- Caramel or Popcorn -- will join President Obama in the Rose Garden Wednesday for the traditional Thanksgiving pardon.
Visitors to the turkey Thunderdome can flip through photos of Popcorn and Caramel checking into their suite at the Willard Hotel and mugging for the White House press corps. The site offers features the turkeys' vital statistics: height, weight, gait, favorite food, favorite music (Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, respectively) along with recordings of their gobbles.
Decision made, visitors are encouraged to post #TeamCaramel or #TeamPopcorn to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. There is no third option for #TeamPardonThemBothYouHeartlessMonsters.
Caramel and Popcorn narrowly edged out a third, unnamed, flockmate to make it to Washington. The runner-up had his moment in the spotlight Monday in Gov. Mark Dayton's office and will be spending Thanksgiving as a featured entree at the St. Paul Salvation Army, where he and another donated bird are expected to feed at least 80 people.
President Obama on Thursday nominated Twin Cities attorney Andrew Luger to be U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, replacing B. Todd Jones, whom the president appointed to head the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Unlike Jones, Luger will not likely have to face the threat of filibuster, which Senate Democrats voted to limit in a historic move earlier in the day.
Luger was recommended for the U.S. Attorney position last July by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken. Luger previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.
Klobuchar issued a statement calling Luger “a dedicated public servant whose breadth of experience, strength of character, and commitment to justice make him a well-qualified candidate to serve as Minnesota’s next U.S. Attorney.”
Franken, in a statement praising Luger’s “invaluable experience serving in both the public and private sectors.”
Luger is currently a partner at the Greene Espel law firm and has been selected as one of Minnesota’s Top 100 “Super Lawyers” for the past ten years. He has been listed as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” for the past four years.