Obama: I'm No Jimmy Carter

President set out to prove he's got the muscle to pass health reform
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 10, 2009 7:38 AM CDT
President Barack Obama gestures while delivering a speech on healthcare to a joint session of Congress , Wednesday, Sept., 9, 2009.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – President Obama’s speech on health care last night wasn’t just a bid for Congressional support for reform: It was a reassertion of Obama’s political strength, writes Adam Nagourney in the New York Times. He had to “display his authority to a Congress that had begun to question his fortitude,” proving he wasn’t another “professorial, aloof” Jimmy Carter “who perhaps was not ready to be the nation’s chief executive.”  Did he do it?

"He managed to invest his case with both economic and emotional urgency," Nagourney writes approvingly, and  while he offered several bipartisan gestures, "he used the kind of tough, confrontational language that suggested the extent to which the White House would seek to portray Republicans as recalcitrant and standing in the face of a historical tide." Too soon to tell if it will work, Nagourney adds, but Obama clearly put GOP opponents of reform on notice that he's going to be playing hardball.