In ad, Blanche Lincoln showcases her vote for unpopular health-care overhaul
By Shailagh Murray
A new poll shows that Arkansas voters disapprove of Sen. Blanche Lincoln's support for health-care reform by nearly two to one. But the embattled Democrat is touting her "yes" vote in a new campaign ad.
Lincoln's embrace of the unpopular new law is aimed at winning support from Democrats in the May 18 primary. More progressive Arkansas voters are flocking to Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who has depicted Lincoln as a Washington insider beholden to special interests.
But it also represents a longer-term bet, by Lincoln and many other Democratic incumbents this year, that voters will warm to the new health-care law as some of its more popular provisions begin to take effect.
The new ad portrays Lincoln as a courageous legislator willing to risk her career to address a national crisis. "I'm Blanche Lincoln, and I grew up in an Arkansas family where we were taught to solve problems, not through hate and anger but by coming together and getting something done," Lincoln says in the spot. "That's why I cast the deciding vote to pass health-care reform, because fixing the problem was more important than politics."
President Obama also praised Lincoln's health-care vote in a radio ad now airing for her campaign: "Blanche took on big insurance companies by voting to end discrimination against Arkansans with preexisting conditions and fought for tax credits that will help thousands of local small businesses provide insurance to their employees."
But an Arkansas News Bureau/Stephens Media poll released Monday found that opposition to the health-care overhaul has strengthened in the state in recent months, with 64 percent expressing disapproval of Lincoln's vote, 28 percent supporting it and 8 percent undecided. In January, an Arkansas News survey found that 59 percent opposed Lincoln's vote, 28 percent approved and 13 percent were not sure.
Lincoln's short-term job is to fend off a well-funded challenge from Halter, who is running to Lincoln's left. But resurrecting health care has its risks. Although Lincoln backed the broader overhaul, Halter is reminding primary voters that she opposed a package of changes approved in March that included some of the bill's most appealing provisions.
The senator cited unrelated student loan changes as her chief concern, but the addendum bill also included incentives to make health coverage more affordable for small-businesses employees, a ban on denying insurance to children with preexisting conditions and changes to the Medicare drug benefit that would lower prescription costs for seniors.
Washington Post Editor
May 10, 2010; 5:16 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Election , 44 The Obama Presidency , Ad Watch , Health Care | Tags: health-care reform; blanche lincoln; blanche lincoln health care; blanche lincoln election; blanche lincoln campaign; blanche lincoln campaign ad
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