After an hour-long lunch with the Senate Democratic caucus, former President Bill Clinton found himself surrounded by dozens of reporters, and summarized his message as one of the urgency of action. "The worst thing to do is nothing," Clinton said of the party's health care reform push. "We can do so much better."
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As they emerged from the lunch one by one, a number of senators echoed this rendering.
"His message was very simply it is so important that this be done, that there are so many people, I think 30 percent of the population he said at one point or another, don't have any health care coverage," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) told TPMDC, "and so the ability to fix the problem is really upon us."
"He made clear that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity," she added, noting that Clinton did not directly address the politically divisive policy aspects of reform--abortion, the public option--in his presentation.
To members who are facing tough re-election races next year (such as fellow Arkansas native Blanche Lincoln) Clinton's message was equally simple: "You're going to do it, and then people are going to begin to see that none of the bad things that people are talking about will come to pass, essentially," Feinstein said.