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Dean: 'Elections Are Not The Time to Educate People

Why aren't Dems touting Obamacare? It's too complicated, says Dean.

With the power balance of Congress on the line, Democrats have been noticeably unwilling to tout their largest legislative success: President Obama's landmark health care overhaul.

Scott Simon, host of NPR's Weekend Edition, recently asked former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Howard Dean why his party has been silent about the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act while campaigning. According to Dean, Democrats are waiting until after they win before "educating" constituents about the new law provisions.

“I don't think we should be making the case right now,” Dean said during a Saturday interview. “Elections are not the time to educate people. You win the election, then you educate people afterwards."

“But the president's doing what he should be doing," he continued. "This is a bare-knuckle fight. It's between the far right, which has taken over the Republican Party, and the rest of us.”

Dean also predicted that the public's opinion of the health care law will increase once people are "educated" as to how it will help them.

“Well, I think actually you're seeing more and more people that are,” Dean said. “The more people that begin to understand the bill, which is incredibly complex, the better I think the bill does.”

A partial transcript from the NPR interview follows (via CNSNews.com):

Simon: Why haven't Democratic candidates been out on the hustings boasting about having passed President Obama's comprehensive health care reform?

Mr. Dean: Well, I think actually you're seeing more and more people that are. The more people that begin to understand the bill, which is incredibly complex, the better I think the bill does.

On the other hand, the bill was very controversial. Bill Frist the other day said this is not a government takeover and nobody should say that it is. It's just not a government takeover. And I think the exaggerations and the hyperbole on the Republican side - you know, the voters are much smarter than politicians think they are. So there're some real things in this bill that are going to benefit us in the long run.

Simon: But what about this election cycle? Is it hard to make the case for it now?

Mr. Dean: I don't think we should be making the case right now. Elections are not the time to educate people. You win the election, then you educate people afterwards. But the president's doing what he should be doing. This is a bare-knuckle fight. It's between the far right, which has taken over the Republican Party, and the rest of us.

Simon: Governor, if an electoral campaign isn't the time to try and educate the public, when is that time?

Mr. Dean: It's while the bill's passing. And we didn't do so well, I don't think, in that one. But, you know, that's not part of this debate. That's part of another debate later on. Right now we've got to focus on the election.

One last thing…
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