Rich Galen

The political pivot point for Gingrich's takeover of the House was the Health Security Act that, in 1993, had been proposed by President Bill Clinton having been devised by the head of the task force in charge of formulating it, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Republicans picked up 54 seats that November largely on the basis of HillaryCare and took control of the U.S. House for the first time in 40 years the following January.

In the election of 2010, following the adoption of Obamacare the previous March, Republicans again stormed the health care ramparts and picked up 63 seats to wrest control of the House from the Democrats.

Obamacare was not central to the Presidential campaign in 2012 because (a) Republican candidate Mitt Romney, while Governor of Massachusetts, had signed a similar program into law and (b) the Obama campaign spent hundreds of millions of dollars to avoid letting the discussion move very far away from Romney's business record at Bain Capital.

Going back to the President's answer last week, reporters should ask Democrats who are in contested seats for the House and Senate this:

"If the President were to come in and campaign for you, would you like to have him center his remarks on the Affordable Care Act?"

Reporters might also ask the advisors to, and managers of, those campaigns how much money (or at least what proportion) they intend to spend on radio and TV ads extolling the fact that their candidate voted for the ACA.

Maybe Democrats are right. Maybe a growing economy (no matter how sluggishly) and lowering unemployment rates (no matter how stubbornly) will trump Obamacare.

That's why they hold the elections.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the WaPo's glance at the President's press conference, to the Stockholm Syndrome, and to the election of 1994.

Also a license plate Mullfoto I might have used before, but I don't think so.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at