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Health Reform: Obama's Prestige on the Line

All President Obama wants for Christmas is a Senate-passed health care bill.

He really doesn't care what's in it, because he won't be signing it. The measure will then go into a House-Senate conference committee to produce the bill the president will sign, he hopes, early in the new year.

More than anything else on his legislative agenda, Mr. Obama has staked the prestiege of his presidency on getting a health care bill enacted that expands coverage to the uninsured and lessens the growth rate in the cost of health care.

But his push for health care is a sword that cuts both ways. If he fails to enact a bill, his supporters could take it out on Democrats in next year's midterm elections. And if the bill is seen as more burdensome and expensive than promised, voters could register their dissatisfaction next year on that score as well.

To read more about the process of passing the health care bill, check out's Health Care Progress Report.

Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter here:
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