"I don't know what's going to happen with the politics of this thing," the president said at a rally at George Mason University. "Here's what I do know. I do know that this bill, this legislation is going to be enormously important for America's future. I do know the impact it will have on the millions of Americans who need our help."
The president compared the health care vote to historic legislation that created Society Security and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
"You know, the naysayers said that Social Security would lead to socialism," Obama said to laughter. "But the men and women of Congress stood fast and created that program that lifted millions out of poverty."
"I know this has been a difficult journey. I know this will be a tough vote," he said. "I don't know how passing health care will play politically, but I know it's right. We are going to get this done. We are going to make history."
Obama has invited the House Democratic caucus to the White House Saturday to discuss the health care bill.
Democratic leaders are only about six votes shy of getting the 216 they need to pass the health care bill in the House, and today they expressed confidence that they would have enough votes when the legislation is brought to the floor this weekend.
"We are excited about the momentum that's developing around the bill," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said today.
"We're going to have the votes," the No. 2 Democrat in the House, Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., today sent a memo to all House Democrats asking them to declare by 2 p.m. today how they will vote. But even after the deadline passed, many House members were still undecided. Clyburn said they didn't expect everyone to make up their minds until the time came to vote.
Democrats today won key endorsements from the AARP and the American Medical Association, which said in a press release today that "after careful review and consideration," it will support Obama's health care overhaul bill.
"The pending bill is imperfect, but we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good when it comes to something as important as the health of Americans," AMA president Dr. J. James Rohack said in a statement. "While the final product is certainly not what we would have devised, we strongly support the parts of this bill that are desperately needed by millions of Americans who are struggling to get or keep health insurance coverage."
The Democratic leadership also nabbed several more "yes" votes today. Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Fla., who voted against the bill last November said he will vote for the health care bill, after studying the revised version and weighing its costs and benefits. Earlier today, freshman congressman John Boccieri, D-Ohio, who also voted against the original House bill last November, announced he would switch and vote for it. At the same time, three other Democrats said they would not vote for the bill, making the momentum unclear.