Obama Success Could Hinge on Address

Big speech to Congress next week likely to make or break health care reform
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2009 1:48 AM CDT
President Barack Obama listens to a question during the Organizing for America National Health Care Forum at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington last month.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama's address to a  joint session of Congress next Wednesday could well be the biggest moment of his presidency, Nate Silver writes in FiveThirtyEight. Two-thirds of voters are still confused about the president's plans for health care, and this speech will be a make-or-break chance to give them some clarity and help get genuine reforms passed, he notes.

The bounce Bill Clinton got from his big health- care speech 16 years ago soon evaporated, but Obama is giving his toward the end of the process rather than at the beginning, Silver notes. The bill has already made it past most of the hurdles in Congress, so if Obama can get even a temporary boost from his speech it could help nudge the bill over the the finish line to win what might become his most important legacy, Silver notes.