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Bachmann: We'll repeal Obamacare in 34 months

Amid all of the red meat tossed out at last night's Conservative Victory Tour with Sarah Palin, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.), and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), I think I heard a concrete and quasi-realistic answer on a question that's been irritating Republicans. How can they campaign on repealing the health care bill if Barack Obama is still president in 2011? Sean Hannity asked; Bachmann answered.

HANNITY: OK. So let's just assume for a minute that conservatives Republicans take back the House of Representatives, maybe not the Senate, maybe the Senate. What can you do specifically? And what do you think can be accomplished to stop the move to socialism, the weakening of our national defense? What do you think can actually happen?

BACHMANN: Number one, we starve the beast of Obamacare. We don't fund Obamacare. And we don't fund [APPLAUSE] ... from there we tell the truth about what's in the bill. The more we tell the truth to the American people the more they're going to recognize we must repeal that bill in February of 2013. I think we will.

That's a good answer, sort of. "Defunding" something means taking it out of an appropriations bill. Barack Obama, still president in 2011, can veto that bill as easily as he can veto anything else. What Bachmann is suggesting is a showdown between the president and a GOP that is already discussing (or claiming to be discussing) a strategy to attack health care reform in the appropriations process. And this will happen, presumably, after the GOP passes Bachmann's "repeal bill" before watching Obama veto that. So this would be a huge mess. But it's more clever than the out-and-out "repeal" message that Republicans can't possibly deliver on in 2011. Bachmann has a knack for this -- getting made fun of relentlessly, then framing an argument that other conservatives start using.

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 2:10 PM ET
Categories:  Health Care  
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