"Nurses, you have a lot of crediblity. You touch a lot of people's lives. People trust you," Mr. Obama said to the American Nurses Association in Washington. "If you're out there saying it's time for us to act, we need to go ahead and make a change... then we will bid farewell to the days when our health care system was a source of worry to families and a drag on our economy."
The president first rallied support from the American Nurses Association for his health care plan in July, when he said the country was "closer than ever" to comprehensive reform.
Since then, the president lost control of the dialogue surrounding the debate as lies and partisan arguments took hold at town hall meetings across the country. Mr. Obama laid out on Wednesday night what he wants from a health care reform plan, and he repeated those goals on Thursday: insurance market regulations, a health insurance exchange, and preferably a government-run insurance plan, or "public option."
"Few people understand as well as you why today's health care system so badly needs reform," Mr. Obama told the nurses.
He cited new data from the Census Bureau showing that the poverty rate increased last year at the highest rate since the early 1990's and that the number of uninsured rose in 2008. In the last 12 months, he said, it's estimated the number of uninsured grew by nearly 6 million, while 8 million people lost their employer-provided coverage.
Full CBSNews.com coverage of the president's speech on health care:
Obama Tells Congress to Stop Bickering
Full Video Full Transcript Speech Highlights
GOP Response: "It's Time to Start Over"
Marc Ambinder: Will Obama's Sales Job Work?
Mark Knoller: Obama Willing to Compromise — Up to a Point
Was Obama Clear on the Public Option?
Ted Kennedy's Letter to Obama
Rep. Wilson Swipes the Spotlight
Analysis: The Road Ahead for Health Care