President Obama rallied House Democrats this afternoon on the eve of a major vote on health care.
After he was done outlining the historic significance of the vote, some members spontaneously started chanting "Fired Up, Ready to Go" the White House told reporters.
White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters that Obama told the caucus they had a unique opportunity before them:
"The President made the case that Congress has a historic opportunity today to provide stability and security for those who have insurance, affordable coverage for those who don't and bring down the cost of health care for families, small businesses and the government. He said that we have made more progress on comprehensive reform than any administration and any Congress in the past 70 years - and we should take this historic opportunity to pass health care reform so that he can sign a bill by the end of this year.
The White House also moved up the president's statement by an hour, he's expected to talk in the Rose Garden any moment.
Obama Praises Heroism At Fort Hood
In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama discussed the shooting at Fort Hood, and paid tribute to the heroism of both military and civilian personnel at the base:
"And yet, even as we saw the worst of human nature on full display, we also saw the best of America," said Obama. "We saw soldiers and civilians alike rushing to aid fallen comrades; tearing off bullet-riddled clothes to treat the injured; using blouses as tourniquets; taking down the shooter even as they bore wounds themselves. We saw soldiers bringing to bear on our own soil the skills they had been trained to use abroad; skills that been honed through years of determined effort for one purpose and one purpose only: to protect and defend the United States of America."
Barbour: New Jersey And Virginia Elections Show America Rejecting The Democrats
In this weekend's Republican address, Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) claimed that this past Tuesday's gubernatorial elections represent a rejection of President Obama's and the Democrats' agenda:
"This week also saw the first big elections since this administration and its Democrat Majority in Congress took control of our federal government. The results made clear the American people don't like where the Democrats are trying to take our country," said Barbour. "Virginia and New Jersey elected new governors Tuesday, and in both cases, voters chose Republican governors to succeed the Democrats elected four years ago. Both are states that President Obama carried by large margins last year."
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders just emerged from a closed-door caucus meeting that included a personal appearance by President Obama confident the House will pass a sweeping health care reform bill today.
Addressing reporters outside the caucus meeting room just now, Pelosi looked back briefly before announcing what seemed like a deal to pass reform.
It was three years ago today that Pelosi led Democrats to retake the House after more than a decade of Republican control. She said the date was "appropriate."
"It is appropriate that the promise we made [to voters] ... will be manifested today," she said. "We will pass health care reform."
Democratic leadership is saying this morning they are confident they have the 218 votes needed to pass the sweeping House health care, public option included.
Just in case, President Obama will make his way to Capitol Hill to speak with the Democratic House caucus at 11:25 this morning. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team will meet the press around noon.
Then things will get exciting as they start debating in a rare weekend session billed as health care Saturday.
If you want to see the sausage being made, tune into C-Span today, and for an explainer, keep reading.
Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), who wrote the foreword to Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America, said today she is "very concerned" about infiltration of the military by jihadists.
"We can't continue to be so politically correct that we're going to say this wasn't religiously motivated," Myrick told the Charlotte, North Carolina, CBS affiliate. She noted the reports that Nidal Malik Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar" before he allegedly opened fire in the shooting spree at Fort Hood Thursday.
President Obama spent nearly two hours this afternoon meeting privately with soldiers and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
While there, he awarded two Purple Hearts, the White House said.
No press was allowed to witness the visit, but an administration staffer told the pool which accompanies the president when he leaves the White House that Obama "visited with 19 soldiers, three families of soldiers in the ICU, as well as hospital staff."
Whether you call it a rally, press conference or "House Call," Republicans think Thursday's Capitol Hill Tea Party was a success --Â and they are crediting Rep. Michele Bachmann for having the pizazz to increase turnout and press coverage.
"We didn't know what to expect, we didn't know what kind of energy would be there, but this thing took a life of its own," Brendan Buck, spokesman for the Republican Study Committee, told TPMDC.
"It came together better than we ever imagined it would in terms of size and energy," he said.
After chatting with press aides from various Republican offices, here's what we know.
Rep. John Tanner (D-TN), a member of the Blue Dogs, has announced his opposition to the current health care bill from the House Democrats:
"After careful review of the current legislation pending in the House and the Congressional Budget Office's analysis, I believe the bill will not help control the long-term costs of health care and puts in place an infrastructure that is not fiscally sustainable over time. I am unable to support this legislation in its present form.
"Most of us realize that serious reforms are needed to fix what is broken in our health care system. Specifically, we should work to reform health insurance; ensure no one can be denied health coverage because of a pre-existing condition; and slow the upward curve of health care costs. I will continue talking with Tennesseans and working with others to achieve these goals, improve our health care system and ensure our reforms help solve, rather than contribute to, our nation's long-term fiscal challenges."