A small group of demonstrators stand outside of the HIlton Hotel and Suites prior to former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, president of the The Heritage Foundation, speaking at a "Defund Obamacare Tour" rally in Indianapolis August 26, 2013. (REUTERS/Nate Chute)
President Barack Obama wearily pleaded late Monday with supporters of his Organizing for Action (OFA) group to fight for him through “one more campaign” — his legacy-defining drive to save Obamacare.
“I’ve run my last political campaign, but I’ve got one more campaign in me, and that’s making sure that this law works,” Obama said on a conference call organized by OFA. “And we’re not backing off one bit.”
Obama complained that “a lot of misinformation” about the Affordable Care Act has been “created and fed” by the failure of the federal HealthCare.gov portal for buying health insurance. He did not offer specifics.
The president spoke for about 14 minutes — sounding utterly bone-tired but plainly trying to recapture the magic of his 2008 campaign or at least the competence of his 2012 re-election push.
“I’m going to need your help, your energy, your faith, your ability to reach out to neighbors,” he said. “You’re going to make the difference.”
Obama declared himself “confident” that the website would function for “the vast majority” of would-be purchasers by his self-imposed Dec. 1 deadline. The White House earlier put a number on that phrase: 80 percent of users, with some portion of the other 20 percent able to sign up via other means.
“We’ve always understood that we’re going to have to enroll people by mail, we’ll have to enroll people over the phone, we’re going to have to enroll people in person,” Obama said.
OFA Executive Director Jon Carson, who said some 200,000 were on the call, emphasized that “the biggest push of this campaign is actually going to come in March.” (March 31 is the end of open enrollment).
“It’s a long race and we’re not near the tape yet, so we’ve just got to keep on running” Obama said. “I hope that you have as much fight in you as I do.”