Center For American Progress’ Neera Tanden On Obama: “Washington Will Not Determine His Success” In 2011.

By Cullen Dirner

Dec 30, 2010 4:12pm

ABC News' Amy Walter reports: When President Obama returns from vacation next week he’ll get his first taste of life with a bigger and more emboldened Republican Congress eager to repeal much of the legislation passed over the last two years. On ABC News' Top Line today, Center for American Progress’ Neera Tanden argues that the President shouldn’t get too caught up in what is happening on the Hill but should instead “get out of Washington, because Washington will not determine his success.” The Chief Operating Officer of the liberal think tank and former director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden campaign, Tanden told Top Line that given the current make-up of Congress, Obama “can’t measure success by Congress alone.  I think you’ll see in the State of the Union the beginning elements of his re-election campaign, communicating why he’s the best person to be president right now and how the things he’s done really help benefit the American people. I think that will be what he does for two years. He’s got to get out of Washington because Washington will not determine his success.” Tanden also weighed in on the fate of the health care law, something she knows a lot about given her role as a former senior advisor for health reform at the Department of Health and Human Services. While acknowledging that the Administration has a “big communications challenge” in connecting Americans with the specific benefits of the law that may benefit them, she also warns that “at the end of the day, the Republicans want to repeal all of these particular benefits and you have to tell people that’s what they’re doing.” Furthermore, notes Tanden, Republican efforts to dismantle the law could backfire. “I think one of the lessons we learned from this last election,” said Tanden, “is that people want to focus on the economy and if they focus everyday on healthcare instead of economic issues, I think that will be a detriment to them as well.” Also joining the program was National Journal’s Senior National Security Correspondent Yochi Dreazen. He discussed the challenges facing the President and Congress on Afghanistan and the real possibility that the current 2014 deadline for troop withdrawal is pushed back even further.

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