Watch CBSN Live

Obama Speech Reassures Some, But Not All

While President Obama delivered his much anticipated to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night, "The Early Show" convened a focus group to see if the president's speech swayed them -- one way or the other.

Nearly three dozen Americans from all walks of life watched the president from a Las Vegas conference room. They listened stone-faced, with their hands doing the talking by moving dials up when they heard something they liked, down when they heard something they didn't like.

Some said they finally got the clarity they were looking for from the president. Special Report: Health Care

"This is the first time I heard a synopsis that synthesized ... the plan and I was reassured," one man told "Early Show" national correspondent Hattie Kauffman.

But a woman said Mr. Obama hadn't answered her questions, leaving her "right where I was before he spoke."

The biggest spike in approval came when the president said he would not build a new health system from scratch, instead saying it "makes more sense to build on what works" and fix what doesn't.

The dials flat-lined when Mr. Obama referred to a so-called public option.

"I'm skeptical that the government program is supposed to pay for itself," one man said. "He says it's not going to add to the deficit. That hardly ever happens."

The group responded most favorably when the president took on insurance companies, saying he would make it illegal to deny people coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

"I'm a cancer survivor," one woman remarked. "What he said about insurance … that was the biggest thing for me."

But many said they needed more specific information from the president. In general, says Kauffman, the room got some reassurance with a healthy dose of wait and see.

Full 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 Apologizes for Obama Speech Outburst
Analysis: The Road Ahead for Health Care