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GOP leader: Impossible to take focus off Obamacare in 2014

Democrats intend on putting a special emphasis on income inequality issues this year, with efforts to raise the minimum raise and help the unemployed, but the Republican Party is betting that voters in November will still make their concerns about Obamacare their priority.

“When you’re talking about something that takes up a sixth of the United States economy and that has been dramatically misrepresented to the American people and that's affecting everybody... it’s impossible for this not to be the number one issue,” Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus told reporters Tuesday.

The RNC on Tuesday is launching radio ads targeting 12 red state or potentially vulnerable congressional Democrats for repeating the now-infamous Obamacare pledge, “if you like your health care, you can keep it.”

The ads come on the heels of similar efforts from outside conservative groups and just ahead of a vote in the GOP-led House to tackle security issues in the new Obamacare marketplace. 

The RNC is specifically targeting Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Udall of Colorado, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Mark Warner of Virginia, as well as Reps. Bruce Braley of Iowa, Gary Peters of Michigan, Tim Bishop of New York, and Nick Rahall of West Virginia. The radio ads will air in English, as well as in Spanish in Colorado and Virginia, Vietnamese in Louisiana and Korean in Virginia.  

“So what’s your New Year’s resolution? Here’s one you can keep. Resolve to keep Sen. Mary Landrieu honest in 2014,” the Louisiana ad says. “President Obama and Sen. Landrieu said if you like your insurance plan you can keep it under ObamaCare. They lied to you. Big time.”

Priebus said that kicking Democrats out of office is a last resort for the GOP, which has voted dozens of times in the House to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“We’ve tried everything we could possibly do to delay or end it,” he said. “There's nothing more we can do other than hold these guys accountable for the votes they took.”

That doesn’t mean the GOP is ignoring other issues -- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will be discussing poverty and income inequality this week to mark the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of the “War on Poverty.”

Still, Priebus said, “We can’t ignore that federal, top-down bureaucracies have lost this war... Obviously, people need a job and they need a good job so that they can pay the bills, and they don’t need to be straddled with Obamacare.”

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