ABC’s Diane Sawyer noted “the President made a direct attack on the health insurance industry, accusing companies of putting profits before patient care” -- which means he was just catching up with Sawyer’s agenda. A couple of weeks ago, Sawyer demanded to know who will “keep insurance companies from jacking up premiums while making huge profits?” and touted “the growing outrage at insurance companies, the ones that raise premiums on ordinary Americans while racking up big profits.”
Jon Karl asserted Obama “hopes to tie into some of that Tea Party anger by focusing on a group that the White House believes is even more unpopular than Congress” as Karl championed a far-left group’s upcoming protest with “wanted” posters “that will highlight the CEOs of the health care companies making the argument that they are the ones to blame.”
NBC reporter Savannah Guthrie began: “Looking to stiffen the spines of wavering Democrats, the President sharpened his attack, lashing out against insurance companies...against Republicans...and Washington itself,” all “music to the ears of the weary Democratic faithful.”
Williams teased his top story: “On our broadcast tonight, fighting words. President Obama comes out swinging on health care. But is it enough to save his plan?”
The lead story on the Monday, March 8 NBC Nightly News:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Good evening. During the presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama often used the phrase “fired up” to do just that to the crowd. Democrats have been openly wondering when he was going to bring that campaign energy and fire to an issue like health care reform. Today the President chose an event at a quiet Philadelphia suburb to get loud. He made his case and he rallied the troops and now readies to head into battle yet again on this topic. We begin tonight with White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie. Savannah, good evening.From ABC’s World News:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Good evening, Brian. As you mentioned, the President has been criticized for not taking enough ownership of this issue, for not finding a sales pitch that really resonates. Well today he made an impassioned plea for health care reform. The question is, is it too late to make a difference.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I do know that it's the right thing to do.
GUTHRIE: His most fiery health care appearance yet in Pennsylvania today. The President ratcheted up the rhetoric.
OBAMA: The need is great, the opportunity’s here, let's seize reform. It's within our grasp.
GUTHRIE: Looking to stiffen the spines of wavering Democrats, the President sharpened his attack, lashing out against insurance companies.
OBAMA: It's no secret they're telling their investors this, we are in the money.
GUTHRIE: Against Republicans.
OBAMA: You had ten years. What happened?
GUTHRIE: And Washington itself.
OBAMA: Every debate, no matter how important it is, with the same question, what does this mean for the next election? What does it mean for your poll numbers? They're obsessed with the sport of politics.
GUTHRIE: The change in tone was unmistakable.
OBAMA: I need you to knock on doors, talk to your neighbors, pick up the phone.
GUTHRIE: As were the old campaign lines.
OBAMA IN ARCHIVE VIDEO: Knock on some doors for me, and make some calls for me.
GUTHRIE: Music to the ears of the weary Democratic faithful.
GOVERNOR ED RENDELL, D-PA: It was a dramatic presentation, the President did terrific. The crowd -- it was like campaign days, it was unbelievable.
GUTHRIE: But Republicans said the President's push was “heavy on snake oil, light on reality.” And once again vowed to make health care the issue Democrats have to run from next fall.
SENATOR JOHN CORNYN, R-TX: Many endangered Democrats who won their races in 2008 or 2006 I think are going to be in a lot of jeopardy.
GUTHRIE: The President's powers of persuasion are about to be tested as never before, as he struggles to convince fence-sitting Democrats to go out on a limb one last time.
DEE DEE MYERS, CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY: He's going to have to personally make the appeal, and he's going to have to make them do it. He's going to say, you have to do this for me, for the good of the party, and for the good of the country. They're not going to want to do it and there are going to be members who lose their seats over this.
GUTHRIE: For the Democrats all the real suspense is in the House of Representatives, whether Democrats have enough votes there is very much an open question tonight, Brian, and of course the President will do all of this again on Wednesday when he goes to St. Louis to try to rally the troops.
DIANE SAWYER: President Obama launched his final push for health care reform ahead of critical votes in Congress later this month. The President made a direct attack on the health insurance industry, accusing companies of putting profits before patient care.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Every year they drop more people's coverage when they get sick, right when they need it most. Every year, they raise premiums higher and higher.
SAWYER: Our congressional correspondent Jon Karl joins us from Washington. Jon, is this going to be it the next few days, the President versus the health insurance companies?
JON KARL: Absolutely, Diane. This is going to be the central focus of the President's closing arguments on health care. He hopes to tie into some of that Tea Party anger by focusing on a group that the White House believes is even more unpopular than Congress. And you’re going to see a grassroots version of this as well. Look for posters tomorrow at a protest in Washington that will highlight the CEOs of the health care companies making the argument that they are the ones to blame. This will be a coalition of liberal interest groups...