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On lawmakers' Thanksgiving menus: Obamacare stories

Democrats and Republicans are ready to talk about Obamacare over the Thanksgiving recess, and their respective communications strategies revolve largely around finding and sharing their constituents’ personal stories.

In its Thanksgiving “playbook,” as reported in the Washington Post, the House Republican Conference offers its members several ways to share Obamacare horror stories. They’re encouraged to share stories via social media sites like Twitter, create videos on the subjct and embed “share your story” buttons on their own websites.

The House Republican website also invites voters to share stories. “Obamacare continues to make life harder for Americans all across the country; from increased premiums to loss of coverage to the website malfunctioning to limited access to doctors,” a page on the site reads. “We are eager to hear the story of your experience with the new health care law and encourage you to tell us.”

House Republicans have also created flyers with images of each state flag, along with the number of those who’ve signed up for Obamacare compared to the number of people dropped from their existing plans.

Senate Republicans are employing similar social media outreach techniques. For instance, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., posted on Twitter last week, “Obamacare is anything but affordable. Share #yourstory by visiting”

Along with #yourstory, they’re using hashtags online like #ObamaCancellations and #StickerShock.

Democrats, meanwhile, are using hashtags like #gotcovered to publicize stories of constituents who have benefitted from Obamacare. They’ve also used it to slam Republicans for their defeatist attitude about the law.

After House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, publicized his attempts to sign up for Obamacare (which were successful), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wrote on Twitter, “Obamacare turns out to be great deal personally for Boehner.” The message linked to a story suggesting that even Boehner, a 64-year-old smoker, should be able to get a reasonable deal through Obamacare.

The Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center is reportedly advising its members over Thanksgiving to find Obamacare success stories and “aggressively publicize them so that people can see the law is delivering on its promise.”

Senate Democrats have also been advised to contrast their own approach to Obamacare -- which includes acknowledging and trying to fix the law’s problems -- with the Republican approach of scrapping the law.

House Democrats, on the other hand, are reportedly focusing more on the economy this Thanksgiving instead of Obamacare.

Meanwhile, the pro-Obama advocacy group Organizing for Action has been running a website called Health Care for the Holidays, encouraging people to talk about the new health care marketplace with their family.

“This holiday season, millions of Americans have a chance to get quality, affordable health insurance—many for the first time,” the website says. “If you have family members who are uninsured, you can play a big part in helping them find coverage that works for them. It might not always seem like it, but your family listens to you. So have the talk.”

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