Obama Rallies House Democrats During Caucus Retreat
President Barack Obama promised to wage "a great campaign" in support of health reform, and he praised lawmakers who made "tough choices" with possible electoral consequences during the House Democrats' annual retreat Thursday on Capitol Hill, The Washington Post reports (Bacon, 1/15).
The president said, "If Republicans want to campaign against what we've done by standing up for the status quo and for insurance companies over American families and businesses, that is a fight I want to have. If their best idea is to return to the bad policies and the bad ideas of yesterday, they are going to lose that argument," according to Roll Call (Newmyer, 1/14).
The president was responding to liberal anger about losing the public option, vulnerable lawmakers' anxiety about their upcoming elections, and ongoing tensions in forging a deal on health reform, Politico reports. "Arriving in the basement of the Capitol to rally the troops on Thursday evening, Barack Obama had to play the role of soother-in-chief, quelling the concerns of an anxious Democratic caucus" (Hunt, 1/14).
However, momentum seemed to be on the side of the president and his allies Thursday, The Hill reports. "Obama has ratcheted up the pressure on congressional Democratic leaders as he pushes for a resolution of the healthcare debate before he delivers his first State of the Union address in a few weeks" (Young and Allen, 1/14).