President Speaking with House Democratic Caucus
I didn’t think this was going to be carried live, but Nancy Pelosi is introducing the President right now on C-SPAN. I’ll update.
…Harry Reid showed up. I assume he’ll be passing around the Senate letter which apparently has over 50 firm commitments for passing the reconciliation sidecar.
Reid: “I have a signed agreement to make that good law even better,” a reference to the letter.
Reid relates the health care endgame to March Madness: Republicans are “trying to foul us, and foul us, and foul us” at the end of the game.
…Steny Hoyer up now.
…OK, the President has reached the lectern.
Thanks Reid, Hoyer, Pelosi, etc.
Quotes Abraham Lincoln: “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to the light I have.” Acknowledges difficult debate and difficult process.
This body “has taken on some of the toughest votes in the history of Congress.” Stressing the importance of history over poll-watching.
Says there’s a sense we are making progress in the economy.
“Now, we’re on the threshold of doing something about it. We’re a day away.”
…Says the cable news obsession is what will this mean for the Democrats, how will it play in November, etc. “I notice that there’s been a lot of friendly advice offered” by Boehner, McConnell, Rove. Maybe they’re giving the best possible advice so Pelosi remains Speaker. But maybe they also realize that after health reform passes, it’ll be harder to mischaracterize what this effort will be all about.
…Stressing the benefits of reform in 2010.
…Says that GOP fearmongering will amount to nothing after reform passes.
…Stresses that it’s a middle of the road bill supported by Bob Dole and Howard Baker. I’m psyched!
…Again triangulates himself between single payer and deregulation of insurance market.
…Now just explaining the bill to the members of Congress who wrote it.
…”Is this bill perfect? Of course not. Will this solve every single problem in our health care system right away? No.” Says that there are plenty of good ideas, highlights regional disparities of Medicare reimbursement. (there’s a deal in place on this apparently.
Says it’s the most important step taken on health care since Medicare. Vast improvement over the status quo.
“I know this is a tough vote.”
…Don’t do it (pass the bill) for me, but those that are struggling.
…Reading a letter from a constituent who doesn’t have health insurance and can’t get care. And another. “Do it for them.”
…”Don’t do it for the Democratic Party, do it for the American people.”
…says that good policy is good politics, that passage is the smart thing to do politically.
…cites Betsy Markey’s support, and the day later that a conservative paper in her district endorsed the legislation and her decision.
…mentions John Boccieri, getting a big ovation. Standing up in “the toughest district there is.”
…”I can’t guarantee this is good politics.” Everyone’s under pressure. Goes back to the Lincoln quote. “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true.”
…Goes back to how he got involved in politics, working in neighborhoods in Chicago, was skeptical about politics and politicians at the time. His working assumption was politicians looked out for themselves, too many compromises, special interests have too much power and clout (is this a confession?)… then said he had to step up and be true to the things he believed in.
…Democrats “have a sense of neighborliness and a sense of community.” Actually makes a solid argument for liberal ideology there. Getting a standing O.
…”Turns out people have had to make compromises… Maybe you asked yourself, why did I ever get involved in politics in the first place.” Sometimes the very people you thought you were trying to help may be angry at you. But every once in a while “a moment comes when you have a chance to vindicate all those best hopes.” Can make good on all those promises. This is one of those moments.
Says that this vote is why you get into public service.
…closes up by saying “let’s get this done.” I can see that speech having an impact on the last few votes.