Pumped-Up Dems Fall Into Line on Health Reform

Obama's speech changed tone on Hill, but GOP votes still elusive
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2009 7:05 AM CDT
President Barack Obama addresses nurses about health care reform, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009, in the Eisenhower Executive Office building on the White House campus in Washington.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – After a dispiriting summer for the Democrats, Barack Obama's address has energized the majority party, with progressives to Blue Dogs lining up behind the president. As Politico notes, the greatest change in tone came from Nancy Pelosi and other legislators who had insisted on a public option, many of whom are now agreeing with Obama that it is preferable but not necessary. But moderate Republicans were less impressed; Sen. George Voinovich, seen as a possible "yes" vote, said he was underwhelmed.

Progressives like Rep. Lynn Woolsey, who had once threatened to vote against any bill without a public option, enthusiastically backed Obama's speech, as did moderates whose votes had also been in doubt. Still, the White House and Democratic leadership have a way to go if they want to get 60 votes in the Senate. "I don’t think he solved a thing in terms of votes," said Rep. Charlie Rangel. "But I think he did a lot in changing the atmosphere."