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Obama goes prime-time to pitch healthcare

  |   July 22, 2009 at 6:48 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama shifts his effort to convince the American people healthcare reform is the right thing to do right now to prime time Wednesday.

In an evening news conference, Obama is expected to outline the case for healthcare reform as well as provide an update on what has been accomplished since he took office in January.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told The New York Times Obama intends to use the news conference as a "six-month report card," to talk about "how we rescued the economy from the worst recession" and the legislative agenda moving forward, including health care and energy legislation.

Political observers said Obama is at a pivotal moment in his presidency because how he handles the healthcare issue during the next few weeks could help shape the rest of his presidency and his relationship with Congress, among other things.

"He's got to be careful that while he ratchets up the pressure, he doesn't bet his whole presidency on whether this gets done before the August recess," said Kenneth Duberstein, who molded President Ronald Reagan's first-term legislative strategy. "He has a broad, broad agenda that he's in a rush to enact, and if he's not careful he will be viewed as a steamroller who tries to get things fast and not necessarily right."

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