President Barack Obama has scheduled a high-stakes speech before Congress next week.
The president's speech is scheduled for Sept. 9, just one day after lawmakers return from their August recess. Some Democrats feel the president has been too vague in discussing his health care goals. Aides say Obama will not offer major new proposals, but will talk more specifically about his top priorities.
It is Obama's plan to take control of the health care debate.
Presidents rarely use joint sessions of Congress as a way to address the nation. Obama's planned Sept. 9 speech shows just how determined the White House is to confront critics and back supporters.
"What they're going to see is the president make a very strong case for what we have to do and why we have to do it at a pivotal moment in this debate and a pivotal moment in our country," said White House senior advisor David Axelrod.
Some are calling the speech a last resort. The last month has brought intense opposition to the president's healthcare reform plan. Angry protestors at town hall meetings across the country has underscored the public's fear. Opposition advertising has also raised the awareness of the public.
Reform opponents spent $12 million in advertising in August, compared to $9 million spent by supporters. In the end, approval ratings for both the president and his plan dropped.
"This is make-or-break-it time for President Obama on healthcare, because the public has turned so sour and he's got a divided Congress," said former presidential advisor David Gergen.