On Wednesday, President Barack Obama’s political organization-turned-advocacy-group, Organizing For Action (OFA), launched a high stakes publicity campaign, complete with a new web presence purportedly featuring the Obamacare success stories of everyday citizens, in the hopes of resuscitating the President’s highly unpopular healthcare overhaul on the opening day of Obamacare coverage.
As Politico reported Sunday, “White House officials and congressional aides say they have been liningup consumers and vetting their stories so they can be told throughvideos, blogs, local news reports, press conference calls and Twitterfeeds.” The anticipation is that “the success stories would help rebuild confidence in Obamacare andencourage millions of Americans who haven’t signed up to do so.”
Politico noted that the massive publicity campaign even included House Democratic leaders sending out a three-page guide to Democrats, instructing them on how to find and place success stories of everyday citizens. “There was one key precaution: The stories need to be ‘thoroughly vetted,'” wrote Politico reporters Carrie Budoff Brown and Jonathan Allen.
The OFA publicity push, which runs the risk of further angering the millions of middle class citizens who have lost their plans and seen their premiums and deductibles spike, features testimonials taken from news clips of Obamacare enrollees. Curiously, OFA’s Obamacare success stories page does not include the last name of each individual. Instead, it lists only their last initial.
One individual included in the OFA gallery of Obamacare winners, listed simply as “Avram F.,” a citizen of North Carolina, is quoted as saying: “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act,also known as Obamacare, I am now, at age 63, covered by healthcareinsurance for the first time in my adult life… Tonight I will sleep well knowing that my family and I are much moresecure in life. Thank you President Obama and those in Congress whovoted to pass the ACA.”
When the reader clicks on the OFA link to the original source of Avram F.’s quote, they are taken to a Black Mountain News letter to the editor written by “Avram Friedman, the Executive Director of the Canary Coalition,” an environmental activism group. On the Canary Coalition website, Friedman’s Executive Director bio describes him as “a highly seasoned grassroots political organizer” who “has been working for civil rights, peace, social justice and environmental causes since the mid-nineteen sixties.”
Friedman’s posted resume on the Canary Coalition website also includes an entry noting that from January 1994 to May 1994 he “ran for the position of part-time commissioner in Jackson County in the Democratic Primary.” Moreover, the resume states that from January 1988 to May 1988, Friedman was a “Candidate for Governor of North Carolina in the Democratic Primary election.”
The revelation, made on the inaugural day of OFA and the Obama administration’s publicity push, is just the latest embarrassment for the White House and Democrats’ effort to find and promote Obamacare success stories. In October, the White House touted a young man named Chad Henderson as one of the first successful Obamacare enrollees–only to later find out he had not enrolled in Obamacare and was an Organizing for Action volunteer.
According to the latest CNN poll, a record low 35% of Americans now support Obamacare.