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Pelosi on Obamacare: ‘I believe that it’s a winner’

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sought to defend the Affordable Care Act yet again Thursday just days before the fourth anniversary of its enactment, declaring "I believe that it's a winner" that Democrats will run on during campaigns this year.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Holding a rare recess-week news conference in between fundraising stops, Pelosi sought to remind reporters that the law remains popular and to castigate Republicans for continuing to raise doubts about its implementation.

"Fifty-one times the Republicans have voted to repeal this freedom and opportunity for the American people," she said. "These ceaseless Republican votes are not only a waste of time, they have a real and heavy opportunity cost, time wasted on partisan antics that should have been spent instead of the top -- our top priority, and a top priority of the American people, creating jobs."

She also strongly disputed reporters who pointed out that Democratic congressional candidates seem to be avoiding discussions of the law. Pressed by a reporter as to whether the law -- which the reporter described as Obamacare -- is a winner or loser in competitive districts, Pelosi said: "You have to ask them -- the member, but I believe that it's a winner."

Then she reminded the reporter that "it's called the Affordable Care Act. It's called the Affordable Care Act."

When the reporter reminded Pelosi that even President Obama has referred to the law as Obamacare, Pelosi said she's also asked the president to stop referring to it that way.

"Affordable. Affordable," she said in reply. "There's a reason. Affordable. Affordable. Affordable. Affordable. Affordable." She said Republicans had sought to use a different name for the law "because they wanted to get away, they -- the opponents -- from the word 'affordable.' And that's why I'm patient with some of these comments. Whatever it is, it's infinitely more affordable than the path that we were on."

Republicans quickly dismissed Pelosi's defense of the law as an "hour-long gaffefest disguised as a press conference."

"Even Pelosi — the architect of Obamacare — can’t explain the benefits of a law that is growing more unpopular by the day," said Matt Gorman, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

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