How Tom Cotton brought Obamacare repeal back from the dead

For days, the Arkansas senator had been working behind the scenes to convince Republicans that reigniting a battle over repealing Obamacare in the tax fight wasn’t as crazy as it seemed. But Trump, still smarting from GOP’s failures to dismantle the law whom Cotton had first pitched on the idea four days prior, needed little persuading.

“I am with you 1,000 percent on this,” Trump told Cotton over the phone. Trump tweeted twice that Republicans should repeal the mandate, putting pressure on the GOP to tuck it into tax reform, despite the idea being widely dismissed at the time.

That Nov. 2 conversation illustrates how the GOP rank-and-file methodically coaxed their leadership to embark on what seemed — and could still become — a fool’s errand to try again to take down Obamacare.