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August 1, 2015

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Damon Political Report

As campaign goes to the mat promoting health care law, Obama plans no ‘official events’ to mark anniversary

President Obama’s re-election campaign has gone all out to promote the health care bill that he signed into law two years ago.

In battleground states, including Nevada, the campaign has used the anniversary to push the most popular components of the bill in press events, direct mail and telephone and door-to-door canvassing.

The White House even honored Nevada activist Jan Gilbert as one of 10 “Champions of Change” for her work promoting the health care law in Nevada.

But Obama’s White House press secretary Jay Carney appeared dismissive of the anniversary, if not the law itself, when asked if the president planned any official event to commemorate it.

“I don’t anticipate a presidential marking of an anniversary that only those who toil inside the Beltway focus on,” Carney said during a press briefing on Air Force One en route to Boulder City, where Obama touted his energy policy today.

The comment irritated at least one local Democratic activist who has spent the week rigorously advocating the law outside the beltway.

“Wow, what a snotty and untrue comment from Carney!” Laura Martin wrote on Twitter.

While Carney dismissed the idea that the anniversary is worthy of an official presidential event, he did tout Obama’s efforts to implement the law and complimented the re-election campaign’s work promoting it.

“And if I may, as a layman, take issue with the knuckleheaded reporting that suggests or buys the critique that we’re somehow not proud of the accomplishment,” he said.

The anniversary comes as Obama is on a four-state swing to promote his energy policy, leading some observers to question why he isn’t touting the health care law instead.

Republicans have vigorously opposed the law, pummeling Obama on the campaign trail for signing the bill. Polls show the law in its entirety remains unpopular with the public, although some specific provisions still garner enthusiastic support.

The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Monday on the constitutionality of the law, which mandates every individual carry health insurance.

Carney said Obama’s relative silence on the law’s anniversary is not related to the upcoming hearing.

“I would simply say that we’re confident that the individual responsibility provision with the Affordable Care Act is constitutional,” Carney said. “I’m confident in our legal arguments.”

“And I would just say again, the issue here isn’t the anniversary of a signing ceremony,” he continued. “It’s the implementation of a law that would provide affordable health care to 30 million people who didn’t have it.”

This story has been edited to correct the number of states Obama is visiting to tout his energy policy.

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