Obama Defends Senate Health Care Bill, Says It Will Pass

But he acknowledged that he needed all 58 Democrats and two independents to be on board with the bill the Senate ultimately votes on if it has any hope of passing.

"Every single one of them," Obama said.

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When pushed by Gibson on the heel dragging by individual senators, Obama would only say of his former colleagues, "Each of them have very strong opinions."

Obama is facing an increasingly skeptical American public when it comes to his push for health care reform.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll found that support for the health care reform package, while never robust, is now at a low ebb and opposition has been steadily growing stronger in intensity.

For the first time, a majority of those surveyed disapproved of the president's work on health care (53 percent) and opposed the health care reform package making its way through Congress (51 percent, compared to 44 percent approval).

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That seven-point margin for opposition is its most to date -- statistically significant for the first time -- and the differential in intensity of sentiment has grown since September.

Obama: Seeing Costs of War 'Hits You Like a Ton of Bricks'

Obama also faced criticism over the length of his deliberations on determining a new strategy for Afghanistan. He ultimately decided to send 30,000 more American troops there starting early next year.

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He told Gibson that his mindset changed from the beginning of the process to his final decision.

"I think that there is a sobriety that overcomes you during the course of a decision like this that that's hard to describe," Obama said. "With this one, you feel it viscerally. You lose sleep. You think about families. You think about history. You walk through Arlington. You're reminded of the image of a mother in the rain sitting in front of a tombstone."

Obama foresaw the decision to send American men and women into combat as "being difficult" but said nothing compared to being in the actual midst of that decision-making process.

"When you meet with families and you talk to soldiers who've come home disabled as a consequence of their service, the sheer emotional force of that I think is something that you can't anticipate," he said. "It's something that hits you like a ton of bricks."

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Obama said the most powerful moment of his first year in office was his overnight trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where he met with families who had just lost loved ones in Afghanistan and observed a "solemn dignified transfer movement," the event that marks the return to the U.S. of the remains of fallen service members.

"Walking up the ramp of the transport plane by myself and seeing those caskets, it's indescribable, and it reminds you of the extraordinary courage and sacrifice that these young men and women are willing to make," the president said. "But it also reminds you that you have the solemn obligation to make the best possible decision that you can make and that there is an element of tragedy involved in war that is inevitable.

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"If you think that this is all chest-beating and glory," he added, "then you're probably not making the best decision as possible."

Obama indicated that while he has outlined a timeline for withdrawal in Afghanistan, enacting that plan will depend on progress made in reversing the Taliban's momentum there.

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