By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
Looking to pivot to the key issue Americans are most concerned about, Democratic leaders plan to start promoting the healthcare reform legislation as a jobs creator. Senior aides said the campaign will focus on several small-business tax credits included in the overhaul.
"Health reform will now shift to jobs when we start talking about the tax credits and how they can be used to expand employment and help the economy," said a Democratic aide who is key in formulating the fall campaign themes for members. "That should give us something new to talk about while promoting the big victory. We think that we are going to have a lot of momentum going into the fall elections," said the aide.
Democrats say their goal is to build on the healthcare victory and indications that they aren't doomed in the fall elections, though Republican Party officials are still predicting they will win enough votes to take back the House. While they may be looking very selectively at post-healthcare polling, the Democrats say there is a shifting going on among voters, with independents starting to leave the Republicans and base Democratic voters becoming more enthusiastic about their team in Washington. Officials cite a recent Democracy Corps poll showing a drop of 11 percentage points in support among independents for House Republicans.
Also, they are starting to hear from members of their energized grass-roots base, who were kept engaged during the debate via the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's list of 4 million E-mail addresses and the much larger Organizing for America list.