SCHIP Ad Campaign Has an Uphill Battle
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
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But as NPR's Julie Rovner reports, the odds of reaching that goal remain extremely long.
JULIE ROVNER: President Bush says he vetoed the bill to add $35 billion to the popular children's health program in part because it costs too much. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, in a preview of Democrats' rhetorical strategy last week, pounced on that.
RAHM EMANUEL: I do agree with the President. We do have excessive spending. We have excessive spending in the war in Iraq. One day of the war in Iraq would give 250,000 children health care in the United States. One week, the war in Iraq would give 1.7 million children health care in the United States.
ROVNER: And in a conference call with reporters this morning, Alan Charney of USAction said his group plans a more personal touch in the targeted districts as well.
ALAN CHARNEY: Next week, we'll be planning to have activities outside of their offices with children and with red wagons with the theme: don't hitch your wagon to George Bush. Hitch your wagon for the kids of America.
ROVNER: Unidentified Woman: ...of kids, Congressman Walberg has a simple choice - give 10 million children the health care they need or turn his back on those children.
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ROVNER: Still, despite the heavy artillery, House Republicans who oppose the bill, like Joe Barton of Texas, remain confident they'll prevail in the end.
JOE BARTON: In the history of the republic, there have been about twenty-five hundred vetoes. Only 106 of those vetoes have been overridden. This will not be the 107th. Whenever we get to the veto, we will sustain the veto.
ROVNER: And Barton is most likely right, says David Rohde, a political science professor at Duke University.
DAVID ROHDE: Most of the Republicans who would have been affected by this kind of campaign already have voted for SCHIP and will vote to override.
ROVNER: Forty-five Republicans voted for the bill the President just vetoed. That includes most of the chamber's moderates, as well as Republicans from districts considered up for grabs between the parties. What that leaves, Rohde says, are the very safest Republican districts.
ROHDE: Districts that are more tilted in favor of the Republican Party and more made up of conservative voters and that remaining small segment of the country that thinks that the president's doing a good job.
ROVNER: Julie Rovner, NPR News, Washington.
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