Washington (CNN) – Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that there’s nothing to recent reports of tension between himself and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Related video: Axelrod on Emanuel
“These stories are what Washington does,” Axelrod, a former Chicago Tribune reporter, said in an interview that aired on CNN’s State of the Union. “When people think there are political challenges, then the ‘palace intrigue’ stories get written and so on. We are a tight group. We are all committed to the same thing and I would discount those stories.”
On a more personal note, Axelrod also spoke favorably of Emanuel, who has a reputation for sometimes being rough around the edges in his political dealings with allies and foes.
Washington (CNN) - Upwards of $1 million a day is expected to be spent on health care television ads this week, as interest groups work overtime to try to influence Congress before the House votes on President Obama's top domestic priority.
Health care commercials all but vanished from the airwaves in late January after Republicans scored an upset victory in the Massachusetts special election to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. Republican Scott Brown's win gave the GOP the crucial 41st vote needed to sustain a filibuster to block passage of the Democratic health care reform bill.
Now, as Democrats try to pass the legislation later this week without Republican support, outside groups are weighing in.
Last year, special interest groups spent a combined $200 million just on TV ads as Congress struggled to agree on how to overhaul the nation's health care system, said Evan Tracey, a CNN consultant and president of Campaign Media Analysis Group.
Ad spending hit a high in 2009 following last August's raucous town hall meetings. "At its peak, advertising levels were exceeding $1 million a day," Tracey said.
Tracey noted that during last week alone, interest groups spent a combined $600,000 on health care ads. The spending increased to about $600,000 by Saturday and very likely will grow to $1 million at the beginning of this week.
Among the many organizations taking to the airwaves: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Future Fund, Americans United for Change and MoveOn.org.
Obama confidante and senior adviser David Axelrod hit the trifecta Sunday talking health care, health care and lastly, health care on CNN.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs lent an assist on Fox: …”we’ll have the votes when the House votes.” The rough translation: We won’t vote until we have the votes and/or we don’t have the votes. Not yet anyway, according to the guy counting the noses. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) says the will is there and the votes will be too. “They (House Dems) have been looking to us to create a way to do it. I think we’ve gotten to a place where we do have the way to do it.”
No joy in Minorityville. House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio vowed to “…do everything we can to make it difficult for them, if not impossible, to pass the bill.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) warned Democrats about a kind of political Armageddon if the bill passes. “There will be an instant, spontaneous campaign to repeal it all across the country… and (in November) a political wipeout for the Democratic Party.
Proving that there will be news after health care Boehner says he doesn’t think Congress will approve funds to move terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay prison to a supermax facility on U.S. soil. Certainly you can count him out: “I wouldn’t vote for this if you put a gun to my head.”
Boehner also said there’s a chance Republicans could take over the house this November.
“We've got more candidates than we've ever had,” Boehner said in an interview that airs on Sunday’s State of the Union. “We've got better candidates than we ever had. We have a better process of helping to grow candidates and grow campaigns than we've ever had. No question that we're going to get outspent in this election. But I think that - that we have a chance at winning Republican control of the House.”
“And I'm going to do everything I can to see that it happens,” Boehner also said.
Asked by CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley to evaluate the GOP’s chances of retaking the House, Boehner was realistic.
“It's a steep climb, but it's doable,” Boehner told Crowley.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, begs to differ with Boehner’s prediction.
“The reality is that we’ve passed these bills through the House and the Senate,” Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said in an interview that airs Sunday on State of the Union. “The Republican candidates are going to campaign against us on it. The question is: We’ve got the vote, are we going to have the achievement? Are we going to have the accomplishment?”
The top Obama adviser also laid out a number of immediate impacts that the White House says will result from passage of the legislation, including prohibiting insurance companies from excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions in children, ending lifetime and annual caps on coverage, closing of the so-called “doughnut hole” in Medicare’s prescription drug coverage, shoring up the financial solvency of the Medicare system, and giving tax credits to small business.
Then, Axelrod suggested that enacting health care reform could help Democrats in November’s elections by forcing Republicans to run against those immediate changes.
“If they want to have that fight, let’s have that fight,” he told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.
During the interview, Axelrod, who was one of Obama’s top strategists during the presidential campaign, also took a shot at some leading Capitol Hill Republicans over their recent comments about the effect supporting health care reform could have in November’s midterms.
Asked about the facility and whether it would be closed, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in an interview that airs on Sunday’s State of the Union, “Well, no they're not. They - they keep saying they are.”
Boehner rejected the White House proposal saying, “(T)hey want $500 million from this Congress to rehabilitate this prison in northwest Illinois. I want to see who the members are who are going to vote for this. I wouldn't vote for this if you put a gun to my head.”
“I think competition is a good thing,” House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in an interview that airs Sunday on State of the Union. “You know, I've got 11 brothers and sisters. I learned about competition early on. But it makes everybody better. And so we've had Tea Party candidates in primaries. [The] [m]ore competition, the better.”
Boehner was commenting on the possibility that third party candidates supported by Tea Partiers might challenge moderate Republicans in swing districts during this year’s primaries.
Earlier: Who are the Tea Party activists?
But, at the same time, Boehner also sought to extend a welcoming hand to the grassroots movement to join leagues with the GOP.
“I'm doing everything I can to prevent this bill from becoming law. Plain and simple,” House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in an interview that airs Sunday on State of the Union.
Boehner added, “What I'm doing is working with my colleagues to keep the American people engaged in the fight.
“I don't have enough votes on my side of the aisle to stop the bill. But I, along with a majority of the American people who are opposed to this, can stop this bill. And we're going to do everything we can to make it difficult for them, if not impossible, to pass the bill.”
The Ohio Republican also faulted the White House and Capitol Hill Democrats for a lack of what Boehner considers meaningful bipartisanship on the issue of health care reform.
Related: Fifth-grader spends birthday lobbying for health care reform