While U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius toured Florida on Tuesday on a damage-control trip for the train-wreck rollout of Obamacare, Republicans attacked on three fronts: the governor’s race, a replacement congressional race in Pinellas County, and Sebelius herself.
Sebelius visited Orlando’s Florida Technical College, where she said the troubled federal health insurance website, Healthcare.gov, would be operating by the end of the month, according to the Associated Press.
“The only way to win back the confidence of consumers and the American people is to have the site working . . . and to reach out to them,” said Sebelius, who was scheduled to visit Miami later in the day.
But Republican Party of Florida spokesman Susan Hepworth said it’s already too late for Sebelius – and the administration she’s part of – to win back the confidence of those the President misled with a statement about insurance he had to have known was wrong.
“While 300,000 Floridians will lose their current health insurance plans even though President Obama said ‘if you like your insurance plan you can keep it,’ Kathleen Sebelius will be covering for the president’s blatant dishonesty, attempting to continue to sell this bad law,” Hepworth said.
Sebelius declined to respond to Hepworth’s statement, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Instead, the made more excuses for the dismal rollout so far.
“We know there were a number of people who came on the site early on and got frustrated with the process,” she said. “We’re in the process of reaching out to all those individuals and say come back, use the site again.”
In the governor’s race, the Republican Party of Florida issued a release criticizing Crist’s appearance on MSNBC Monday night, where he told interview Ed Schultz he “won’t shy away” from Obamacare if he wins the Democratic primary to challenge Gov. Rick Scott in 2014.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Crist said. (Check out the video below.)
In response, the RPOF issued a statement from Chairman Lenny Curry tying Crist to the health-care law’s dismal beginning weeks.
“Charlie Crist has said he would vote for Obamacare [in 2010], supports implementing Obamacare and that our country needs Obamacare. Now he’s made it clear that he’s running on Obamacare,” Curry said.
“He’s been bragging about hugging President Obama and has made it clear he’s hugging Obamacare. This government takeover of health care is something we can’t afford and Charlie Crist is someone Floridians can’t afford to be governor again.”
The RPOF also issued a statement from U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., calling Crist untrustworthy.
“When Charlie Crist abandoned the governor’s office to run for the U.S. Senate, he should have been focused on improving Florida’s economy and creating jobs for the more than one million Floridians who were unemployed,” Ross said in the statement.
“Now, he embraces President Obama’s failed Affordable Care Act, which caused 300,000 Floridians to lose their health insurance plans. We need a governor we can trust to lead.
“When it comes to Charlie Crist, we can only trust that he will continue to put Florida’s best interests behind his own.”
Meanwhile, in the race to replace the late Republican C.W. Bill Young in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, where three Republicans qualified by Tuesday’s noon deadline to run in the Jan. 14 special primary election, the National Republican Congressional Committee issued a news release attacking Democratic candidate Alex Sink, the former chief financial officer who lost the governor’s race against Gov. Rick Scott in 2010.
NRCC spokeswoman Katie Prill said Sink allies like U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi are busy raising money for Sink to switch the Young seat to the Democrats.
“Nancy Pelosi and her liberal friends know that if Sink is sent to Congress, she will be a key vote to helping Pelosi regain the speaker’s gavel,” Prill said in a statement.
“They also know that Sink is a proud supporter of the President’s failed health-care law even though it is already causing Floridians to lose their healthcare coverage.”
Sink is the only Democrat in the race. Jessica Ehrlich, the Democrat who ran against Young in 2012, withdrew from the race after Sink announced for the seat.
Here’s Crist on “The Ed Show” on Monday:
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