President Barack Obama visited Capitol Hill and made a brief televised statement this afternoon to press the House to pass the Democratic health reform bill.
USA Today: "On this college football Saturday, President Obama gave a Knute Rockne-like pep talk to House Democrats as they prepare for a big vote in the health care debate. Later, at the White House, Obama told reporters that the nation is 'closer than we have ever been' to a 'once-in-a-generation' overhaul of the health care system. 'Now is the time to finish the job,' Obama said, citing endorsements of the bill from the AARP and medical groups and urging members of Congress to 'rise to this moment." (Jackson, 11/7).
The New York Times: "President Obama has met with House Democrats in the Cannon Office Building and given all the applause, it might be hard to remember that the president is on Capitol Hill to twist the arms of undecided lawmakers, and push some to cast a risky vote. Democrats said that Mr. Obama’s visit was part last-minute pitch for votes and part pep rally. ... Mr. Obama said he recognized that lawmakers were weary. 'It’s tempting to say, ‘I’m tired, it’s hard, I’m getting beat up back in the district, it’s just not worth it,’' he said. But he told Democrats that they must act now. 'On a policy basis, if we do not get it done this year, we will not get it done anytime soon,' he said" (Herszenhorn, 11/7).
Reuters: "Democrats said Obama emphasized the urgent and historic need for a healthcare bill that reins in costs, expands coverage to millions of uninsured and bars insurance practices such as denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. 'We expect the energy he brought to the debate to be helpful to us on the floor,' Representative James Clyburn said" (Whitesides and Smith, 11/7).
In its blog, 44, Politico reported on the president's national remarks: "President Obama cast the House's health care reform vote, expected to happen later today, in historic terms: 'This is our moment to live up to the trust the American people have placed in us… this is our moment to deliver… I urge Congress to answer the call of the American people'" (11/7).
Related: House Democrats Debating Historic Health Reform Legislation