Mediaite Morning Reading List: Obama Hits the Road for Obamacare

Every a.m., Mediaite publishes a primer of what the interweb machine is writing, talking, tweeting, and blogging about, so that you may fool friends and family into thinking you are a trove of information and insight. Today: Obama hits the road for the ACA, a harrowing account of a Syrian journalist-turned-exile, Bitcoin: for and against, and the turmoil in Ukraine.

“White House Returns to Obamacare Sales Mode” (Carrie Budoff Brown & Mike Allen, POLITICO)

Bolstered by a stronger website and some improved enrollment numbers (GRAIN OF SALT ALERT), President Barack Obama will embark on a three-week promotional drive for the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday, with plans to highlight a different benefit of the law each day. The big takeaway: a lot of Democrats are behind the push, complicating—at least for the moment—the “Democrats are running from Obamacare” narrative:

Democrats in the White House and on Capitol Hill say that in order to get back on offense on Obamacare, they have to draw a two-sided picture: Democrats delivering benefits on one side, and Republicans trying to deny them on the other. That, one party operative said, is what polling says will help them win. Instead, Democrats have spent the past two months blaming a president of their own party for the deficiencies of a law that they own.

“Obama Tries To Move Past Health Care Website Woes” (Julie Pace, AP)

Julie Pace reminds everybody of the growing concerns over’s back-end problems, which could lead to inaccurate information being submitted to insurers. “Insurers say much of the enrollment data they’re receiving is practically useless, meaning some consumers might not be able to get access to benefits on Jan. 1, the date their coverage is scheduled to take effect,” Pace reported, though she added that the administration “is furiously trying to rectify” the issue.

There’s a danger that between the White House’s report of notable improvements and Obama’s renewed efforts to promote the law, pressure to continue the “tech surge” on the website could ease, leaving’s less visible problems to fester. Pay attention to this story.

“How al Qaida’s Rise Drove a Syrian Revolutionary to Choose Exile” (Mousab Alhamadee, McClatchy)

Alhamadee’s first-hand account of how he went from a journalist optimistic about the rebels’ gains in Syria to one forced to flee the country or face abduction or assassination by radical Islamic groups is a must read, told with urgency and emotional economy. The brief moment on his way out of his door, when he pauses to take “a few lovely books” from the library he’s leaving behind, is like out of a great short story.

“I’m Changing My Mind About Bitcoin” (Joe Weisenthal, Business Insider) / “Why I Haven’t Changed My Mind About Bitcoin” (Matt Yglesias, Slate)

Joe Weisenthal’s post softening his tone about Bitcoin prompted a response from Slate’ Matt Yglesias on why condescension is still the proper attitude toward the upstart currency. If you know little of Bitcoin, the tales of Chinese businessmen using it to circumvent currency laws through casinos and whatnot is basically a James Bond movie for wonks.

“The Company Ukraine Keeps” (Julia Gray, Washington Post)

If you’re looking for a handy primer on the turmoil in Ukraine—which turned violent over the weekendJulia Gray’s guest post in WaPo catches you up lightning quick. Long story short: Ukraine has billions in debt set to mature in 2015, making it more dependent on Russia’s immediate economic influence, even as such an alliance hinders its growing integration with the EU, which could yield better economic outcomes in the long run. It’s a rock and a hard place, with the country’s economic security as stake.

[Image via Getty]

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