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Obama Has Given 54 Speeches on Health Care


On no other issue has President Obama put in as much effort and displayed as much passion as on health care.

Since launching his campaign for health care reform with a White House forum on March 5th of last year, Mr. Obama has delivered 54 speeches and statements on the issue.

He has done health care events in 12 states, some of them more than once. He's done 9 Town Hall Meetings on health care and made it the focus of 13 of his Saturday radio and Internet addresses.

And elements of the first speech could be heard more than a year later in the latest.

March 5, 2009

"There are those who say we should defer health care reform once again -- that at a time of economic crisis, we simply can't afford to fix our health care system, as well."

March 19, 2010

"You've got a whole bunch of opponents of this bill saying, well, we can't afford this; we're fiscal conservatives. / Not only can we afford to do this, we can't afford not to do this."

Our CBS News tally shows Mr. Obama has made 471 speeches, remarks and comments on every issue under the sun since taking office 423 days ago. His 54 statements on health care reform mean that better than 1 in 10 was on health care. Since the first of this year, it's been nearly 2 in 10.

And on more than any other issue, health care triggers the most forceful passages of his rhetorical repertoire.

In four speeches the last two weeks in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Ohio and today in Virginia, his passion reaches a peak and an ear-popping crescendo as he appeals to his largely supportive audiences to back his appeal for enactment of his plan to fix what he says is wrong with health care coverage in America.

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At the end of his speech today to an audience of 8,600 at the Patriot Center arena at George Mason University, he called on them to "stand with me just like you did three years ago."

"Knock on some doors, talk to your parents, talk to your friends. Do not quit, do not give up, we keep on going. We are going to get this done. We are going to make history. We are going to fix health care in America with your help."

His lung-power and campaign-style cadence recalled the glory days of his presidential campaign and triggered a thunderous and prolonged ovation from his audience.

But in pursuit of his health care plan, Mr. Obama is also pursuing a more personal and subtle approach as he reaches out to members of Congress for support.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs put out the word that so far this week Mr. Obama had spoken 64 times - in person or by telephone - with House members - nearly all of them undecided Democrats.. On Friday alone, the White House trumpeted that Mr. Obama had gotten commitments to vote "yes" on health care from six more House Democrats, three of them switching from previous "no" votes.

By canceling his planned trip starting Sunday to Indonesia, Australia and Guam, Mr. Obama signaled that getting his health care plan enacted was his top priority.

If the House vote Sunday doesn't go his way, it won't be for lack of trying on his part.

Check out Mark Knoller on Friday's edition of's daily political Webshow "Washington Unplugged:

More Coverage of the Health Care Reform Debate:

Mark Knoller: Presidents Don't Cancel Trips Frivolously
Obama: Health Care Debate is About Country's Character
Stupak Wants Separate Abortion Bill or He Won't Support Health Care Bill
Glenn Beck, Steve King: Health Care Bill Vote an Affront to God Special Report: Health Care

Details of the Bill:

What's in Health Care Bill? Take a Dose
Health Care Special Deals: What's Left In?
Dems Include Student Aid Reform Package in Bill
Health Care Bill Extends Tax to Investments
Read the Text (PDF): Complete Senate Bill | Reconciliation Measure

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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