Obama finally embraces the Republican term ‘Obamacare’

“The Obama administration made a decision on Friday to own the term‘ObamaCare’,” NBC News reports in its First Read blog, adding a capital letter not often used. “It had been used as a pejorative by Republicans, but the White House has made the decision to embrace it and not let opponents have a word that they only drive as a negative. White House senior adviser David Plouffe noted on ‘Meet the Press’ Sunday that, in 10 years, health care will be a positive and cited polling that people don’t want to re-litigate it. We can report that last part came from Democratic polling Plouffe has seen; he was not citing any public polling on this specific issue.”

The NBC item is also based on a story yesterday from The New York Times, which reported that Democrats are “launching a Twitter campaign that seeks to build positive associations for it.” The Twitter post read, “If you’re proud of Obamacare and tired of the other side using it as a dirty word, complete this sentence: #ILikeObamacare because …”

The story noted that “Obamacare” has been used “primarily by Republicans, as a term of disdain. Democrats have tried to limit the term’s use to reshape perceptions, but that has been a tough sell.” The Times quotes Grant Barrett, a vice president for the American Dialect Society, who said that once a word becomes political, it is very difficult to quash it: “It’s an invitation to have your heart broken. You forbid it, and they start writing it on the bathroom stalls.”

For the Times story and a nice graphic showing the history of the term, and examples of its use, by Amanda Cox, Alicia DeSantis, Alicia Parlapiano and Jeremy White, click here.

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