Democratic strategist Al From: On Obamacare, good intentions aren’t enough

Rick Klein, Olivier Knox, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps
Power Players

Top Line

Democratic strategist Al From says the problems with the government’s new online health insurance market threaten to undermine the Democratic Party’s case for government.

“It sure makes it a lot harder for people to support new government initiatives,” said From, who is largely credited with shaping Bill Clinton’s successful presidential campaign in 1992. “And if it doesn't work, then good intentions are not enough.”

With the Obama administration now touting improvements to HealthCare.gov after a fumbled rollout two months ago, From told “Top Line” that getting the program back on track should be a top priority.

“It is critically important that President Obama get this program working and working well,” From said. “It is incumbent on liberals, on Democrats, on progressives, to make sure government works, because government is our agent for helping people help themselves and each other.”

As of Sunday, the Obama administration said that HealthCare.gov is working more than 90 percent of the time – up from just over 40 percent in October.

From sat down with “Top Line” to discuss his new book, “The New Democrats and the Return to Power” that identifies the core principles that he believes brought the Democratic Party to power with Clinton’s presidency and makes recommendations for the way forward.

From said that, in addition to making sure that government initiatives are effective, laying out a “long-term economic growth strategy” is essential to Democrats’ success going into 2016.

He points to Hillary Clinton as a standard-bearer for the party.

“I would hope that if she decides to run, and I don't know whether she's going to run or not, that she would take the core principles … and offer solutions, new ideas, that deal with the problems and the challenges that we have in 2016 and beyond,” From said.

And he said that tapping into a moderate political philosophy, as Clinton was recognized for doing in 1992, is the best way to keep the party growing in tandem with the American people.

“There is a center in the country, and it's out in the country. You see it in governorships and really in both parties, and so it's possible to tap that,” From said. “I really don't believe that we moved the country to the right or to the center. What I believed is we modernized what I would call liberal government.”

For more of the interview with From, including the story of how he got his start working on the “War on Poverty” with Sargent Shriver, check out this episode of “Top Line.”

ABC News’ Alexandra Dukakis, Gary Westphalen, Chris Carlson and Vicki Vennell contributed to this episode.