Democrats are (slowly) leaning to love ObamaCare

Democratic strategists cautioned against reading too much into the trickle of pro-Obamacare messaging some candidates have embraced. The health care law is finding a place in Democrats’ campaigns often as a byproduct of some other political need, they said, not because of a broader strategic shift within the party.

They downplayed, for example, the recent ad in which Mark Pryor of Arkansas—one of the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrats—highlighted popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The ad shows Pryor, appearing alongside his father, discussing his own bout with cancer and saying he “helped pass a law that prevents insurance companies from canceling your policy if you get sick, or deny coverage for preexisting conditions.”

Many liberal pundits were ecstatic about the spot, proclaiming that Democrats finally understood how to win on Obamacare. But Democratic strategists said that wasn’t the most important element; the ad is “very much about Mark telling his personal story,” and not about making a pro-Obamacare argument, said Justin Barasky, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

“This is not a response ad by any means; this is a bio ad, this is an ad about who he is. They would have run this ad regardless of what the politics of ACA are,” a Democratic strategist said.