IIP Photo Archive / Flickr mike pence with microphone...
IIP Photo Archive / Flickr

Since Donald Trump opened his mouth on Friday night in Alabama and stuck both feet in it, the GOP powers that be have gone into hyper-drive. Reading between the lines, Mitch McConnell was clearly upset with Trump’s bizarre campaign speech for Luther Strange, which turned into a cause celebre, which Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker summarized as [Trump] “Goes to sleep threatening nuclear war. Wakes up suggesting boycott of NFL.”

Trump was summoned to Huntsville by McConnell for the specific purpose of campaigning for Luther Strange, down 6 points in the polls to opponent Roy Moore. Instead, Trump said, “both are good men,” “maybe I made a mistake supporting Luther” and the zinger, projecting a Moore primary win, “I’ll campaign like hell for him.” McConnell must have gone into a coma.

Word early Saturday on the local Huntsville television station, WHNT, was that the town was all a dither with conflicting messages about the immediate appearance of Mike Pence. NASA “was working feverishly to prepare for Pence’s arrival. Then the visit was cancelled due to a “scheduling change” then it was put back on again. It’s clearly a thrown together affair because WHNT reported today that details of Monday’s visit have not been provided yet.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, a press release was issued yesterday which frys much bigger fish than the Huntsville appearance and paints Pence as the golden boy of the GOP. ABC News:

Vice President Mike Pence will be campaigning across the country ahead of the 2018 elections, using the celebrity of his office and his prodigious fundraising abilities to help Republican candidates.

A campaign visit from President Donald Trump could create a headache for candidates in swing districts. But a Pence appearance is unlikely to make a stir.

Pence is also a longtime devotee of conservative causes with deep ties to GOP donors and party activists that date back to his 12 years in Congress.

That makes him an attractive get for Republican campaigns looking to rally their base and raise money.He helped draw more than 1,400 to Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst’s fundraiser in June.Last spring he launched his own PAC to raise money for Trump’s re-election and other Republicans.

Wheeee! Listen to the dog whistles! And when not flexing those prodigious muscles of his, undoubtedly gained from following Trump with a mop and pail for over a year, Mike Pence will be spinning tales to counteract Trump’s gaffes, starting with this one.

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What does the Great Bill say? Washington Post:

What the bill says it would do on paper for people with preexisting conditions and what it would do in practice for people with preexisting conditions are very different.

Technically, this bill says health insurers can’t refuse sick people insurance like they could pre-Obamacare. If states ask the federal government to let insurers stop charging sick and healthy people the same amount, they have to explain how they’ll provide affordable coverage to sick people. But the bill doesn’t require states to follow through on it. It says if states request a waiver, the government has to grant it.

What does Mike Pence say? Fox & Friends asked him if he could “guarantee” that pre-existing conditions are covered. What followed is Republican obfuscation worthy of Nixon himself. This was a cool compress on Mitch McConnell’s fevered brow:

EARHARDT: “Can you guarantee that these governors will make sure preexisting conditions are covered?”

PENCE: “Thomas Jefferson said government that governs least governs best. I mean, the question people ought to ask is: Who do you think will be more responsive to the health-care needs in your community? Your governor and your state legislature or a congressman and a president in a far-off nation’s capital? I mean, this is the concept of federalism upon which our Constitution was framed. But this legislation, Graham-Cassidy, as its authors have said, contains all the same protections for preexisting conditions as the president indicated.”

Go ahead and parse that word for word, not just the bold. The Washington Post has. Here’s their bottom line.

Pence said in that interview that this bill “contains all the same protections for preexisting conditions as the President indicated.” Which, as we explain above, is not how nonpartisan health-care analysts interpret the bill.

So that’s where things stand, except for this pesky thought. Even when Mike Pence lies he can’t get his facts straight. Thomas Jefferson never said what Pence quoted.  Henry David Thoreau said something like it but Politifact had to go and spoil everything, just when Pence was polishing his statesman delivery. Gee whiz.

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