WH Seeks to Seal the Deal on Health Care Reform

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WASHINGTON -- With his popularity falling and public opposition to massive health care reform slipping, President Barack Obama is preparing to take the bully-pulpit in an effort to seal the deal.
    
But he will have to be convincing to get some members of his own party back on board.

Tough Road Ahead

Protestors at a recent town hall on health care shouted, "Stay out of my business!  Stay out of my health care!"

It's the scene that has dominated the month of August and the message that is winning when it comes to health care reform.

Whether it is cost, fear of health care rationing or too much government control, lawmakers have gotten an earful this summer. On Tuesday, they head back to Capitol Hill - and even some Democrats are returning with new found opposition to the bill on the table.
    
Moderates are concerned about the trillion dollar price tag on the House legislation, while others just do not feel comfortable with the bill as it is written.
     
In an effort to stop the downward spiral, the president will address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, just one day after lawmakers get back to work.   

"Now it's time to close the deal," said White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod.

Obama is expected to lay out his vision for health care - specifically what should be included in legislation and what he's comfortable leaving out.
    
Lawmakers who support the president's plans are practically begging for tough leadership on the issue.
    
"This is make-or-break time for President Obama on health care, because the public has turned so sour and he's got a divided Congress," said former presidential advisor David Gergen.

The president is also up against weakening popularity.  His approval ratings have fallen more sharply than any other new president and that could affect his ability this fall to get any legislation passed.    
    
If he can hold on to the Democratic lawmakers votes, the White House is signaling it is willing to go ahead with the health care legislation with or without GOP support.
    
The decision comes after two key Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., harshly criticized the president's plans.
    
Still, one thing is certain.  As the debate continues to play out, Americans will be watching.    

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Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.