White House embraces "issue roulette"

Administration officials grumbled over the way in which the bungled website overshadowed a foreign investment summit Thursday that had taken considerable effort by the White House to arrange. Obama spoke at the SelectUSA gathering, which drew more than 1,000 business leaders from around the world as part of an effort to attract foreign investment. But the summit didn’t attract much attention.

That’s all the more reason to elevate base-driving issues like ENDA and immigration, according to Democratic strategists.

Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist and former top aide to former Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), said the push on those two issues is also about marginalizing Republicans and appealing to independents, who have shown support for both initiatives.

“I don’t think it is useful from a messaging standpoint to say all we care about is health care,” Elmendorf said. “He is going to be president for three more years. This too shall pass. Two or three weeks ago, the only thing in the news was the death of the Republican Party.”