Dems in final push as health care vote looms
(AP) - President Barack Obama and Democratic leaderslobbied intensively for historic health care legislation Friday,striving to resolve a last-minute dispute over Medicare whilegaining another precious "yes" 48 hours ahead of a climacticvote.
With a showdown set for Sunday on the House floor, Democraticleaders still didn't command the 216 votes they needed, so everyundecided lawmaker was the focus of personal attention from HouseSpeaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House, and every"no"-to-"yes" conversion was trumpeted by party leaders.
Obama, who delayed an overseas trip to help ensure passage ofthe legislation, planned to meet with Democratic lawmakers at theWhite House Saturday afternoon.
In an 11th-hour pitch, the president spoke to an enthusiasticcrowd at George Mason University in Virginia, lobbing attacks atthe insurance industry with his coat jacket off and sleeves rolledup.
"The only question left is this: Are we going to let thespecial interests win once again, or are we going to make this votea victory for the American people?" he said.
Obama described the stakes in stark terms, using words utteredso rarely out of the White House that they seem all but banned:"If this vote fails." What then? "The insurance industry willcontinue to run amok," the president said, pointing to risingrates, denials of coverage and limits on care.