From Sunlen Miller and Rachel Martin:
President Obama appeared at a pair of fundraisers for the DSCC/DCCC this evening in Miami, raking in $1.5 million for Democrats.
The president made no mention of Sen. Reid’s decision today to include a government-run health insurance option in the final health reform bill to be considered next month on the Senate floor. But he did briefly remind the audience that there were times during the health care debate — like back in August — when some said health care reform was dead.
“If you’ve have been following what has been happening in Washington, all the naysayers, you remember?" he said. "I mean back in August, ‘Oh, this thing is dead, it’s terrible.’ … And what do we do? We just keep on working.”
The president said he is confident — in part because Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is so confident — that health reform will be passed this year.
The message to Democrats in the crowd was to mobilize in the final push on health care.
“It’s not going to get easier here on out, it’s going to get harder,” the president said. “Now is the time when all the special interests say, ‘Oh, this is really going to happen and we might lose some of our profits,’ and they start paying big lobbyists, and they start twisting arms. And that is why all of you are so important.”
The president said they have to push and mobilize to make this a done deal, and intimated that mobilization has greater sway than his own voice on Capitol Hill.
“I promise you, members of Congress listen to you a lot more than they listen to me. And so the more that you guys are mobilizing and organizing and understanding our job is not done, it's barely begun, the better off we’re going to be,” Obama said.
Bringing back his fighting words of the 2008 presidential campaign, the president noted that he doesn’t rattle, and he may be skinny but he’s tough.
“I know that the battles out there seem bruising and you know people say mean things about me. And folks are worried, you know, and I try to explain to them … just because I’m skinny doesn’t mean that I’m not tough. I don’t rattle," he said. "You know, I’m not going to shrink back. Because now is the time for us to continue to push and follow through on those things that we know have to be done. And haven’t been done for decades.”
Echoing other campaign themes, the president said that hope is not just having “blind optimism, “ or wishing for things to “magically” happen — it’s having confidence that if you work hard, are willing to overcome setbacks and “stare at each other in the face,” that something is achievable.
– Sunlen Miller and Rachel Martin