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Post Politics

By Sean Sullivan
November 17 at 11:56 am

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sought Sunday to downplay the impact of the 39 House Democrats who broke ranks to vote for a Republican bill that would alter the federal health-care law, as one of her top lieutenants said most of the defectors were trying to “insulate” themselves.

“The number is approximately the same [compared to] two or three months ago as it is today. When the Republicans put forth a political initiative, people act, respond to it politically,” Pelosi said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” She was referring to House votes during the summer in which dozens of Democrats joined Republicans to vote for a measure to delay coverage mandates for individuals and businesses.

Still, Friday’s vote was a striking show of Democratic disunity and the largest Democratic defection on a major piece of legislation this year. A day after President Obama presented his own fix, more than three dozen Democrats voted for a GOP-backed bill to allow Americans to keep current health-care plans, even if they don’t meet requirements established by “Obamacare.”

Responding to Pelosi on “Meet The Press,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) called the problems with the rollout of Obamacare “a mess.”

“The president said he fumbled the rollout. It’s time for a timeout which I’ve been calling for so we can go back to the drawing board,” Ayotte said.

Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said he believes the Democrats who voted for the Republican plan were trying to protect themselves from political attacks.

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