How crucial is tomorrow night's speech?
The White House knows this is its last chance to get a full national audience before Congress votes on health care legislation.
What red lines will the president draw?
Look for three:
Doing nothing is not an option. Congress must act to guarantee good coverage for those now insured and to get more help for those who aren't.
Cost control is a must. It's the only path to the "security and stability" that make up Obama's new mantra.
Adding to the deficit is out of the question. While Obama certainly won't wave a pen like Clinton, he will likely be most explicit on this point: any bill that increases the deficit — even a dime — will be sent back.
And as so clearly telegraphed by Gibbs on This Week, failure to include a public option is not veto bait.
What does the president need to do?
Convincing the public he has a clear plan that meets his red line tests is crucial. But Obama also must do a better job of answering the "what's in it for me" question the White House began to focus on last summer.
Most important, I think he needs to convince the country of one big point: "I hear you. I know why you're worried. The status quo is not an option. But we can solve this problem one step at a time."
That kind of rhetorical concession (combined with an olive branch to GOP on malpractice reform) is the most important thing Obama can do to signal a fresh start.
Here's my conversation with Robin on GMA:
- George Stephanopoulos