5 Things to Watch During Critical August Break
Health care takes center stage in 'consequential' recess
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 3, 2009 12:20 PM CDT
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. walks with Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., following a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, July 31, 2009.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – With health care reform hanging in the balance, the August congressional recess is likely to be a lot less relaxing than usual, writes Glenn Thrush in Politico. What to watch:

  1. Health insurers’ response to Nancy Pelosi’s singling them out as the "bad guys" on soaring health care costs. Will we see a counterattack like the “Harry and Louise” ads of the Clinton era?
  2. President Obama’s approval rating. If his numbers keep falling, it will make it tough for Dems “to sell anything.”

  1. The parties’ health care messages. So far, Republicans have kept their message “concrete—and scary,” Thrush writes, while the Dems have been too vague. Can Democrats tighten theirs despite lack of agreement on details?
  2. Tea party protests. Those opposed to reform are talking about protesting in Dems’ districts. Meanwhile, Republicans have to watch out for overzealous demonstrators who could do them more harm than good.
  3. Max Baucus’ moves. The Senate Finance Committee chairman is stuck between committee Republicans trying to stop a public health care plan and Democrats trying to hurry legislation.