In it, but not of it. TPM DC
The President extended his appreciation to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team as well as his own staff, for what had turned into a historic legislative slog that stretched on for a year.
Pelosi had thanked Obama in her floor speech before the final vote. But the president remained largely under the radar this weekend to the American public. His weekly radio and YouTube address was focused on financial reform and he skipped the annual Gridiron Dinner Saturday night.
Instead, Obama worked behind the scenes from the West Wing, speaking to undecided Democrats - and some Republicans - about the health care vote. Robert Gibbs told reporters tonight since Monday, Obama has "taken part in 92 meetings with members of Congress" about health care. The president also worked with Congressional leadership and Rep. Bart Stupak to craft an executive order handling the sensitive issue of abortion and giving Democrats the needed votes to pass the final legislation. A White House official said Obama made a surprise appearance at an 11:00am meeting of senior staff.
Obama also watched NCAA basketball over the weekend, though his bracket suffered a major loss when #1 seed Kansas (from his Final Four) was knocked out of the tournament. The official said that "like the rest of America," Obama was "examining the rubble of his bracket."
Read Obama's full remarks here.