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Returning from Hawaii. (Photo/WWR)

Monday, March 15, 2010

President's Schedule: Monday, March 15

Good morning from the White House press room...After more than a year, 52 major speeches by President Obama, a battle royal with Congressional Republicans, angry town halls, the public option, doughnut hole, doc fix, insurers, doctors, big pharma, premiums, deductibles, co-pays and - well, you get the picture - the battle over health care reform will apparently climax this week. The White House predicts the House will pass the Senate version of health care by this time next week and that the President will sign into law a bill that has eluded his predecessors for more than half a century.

"I think we will have the votes," White House advisor David Axelrod said yesterday on CNN.

"Guess what?" asks House Minority Leader John Boehner. "They don't have the votes."

We'll find out as early as Friday; that's when the House could vote. There are 253 Democrats in the House; 216 votes are needed for passage. But some Dems are critical of abortion provisions (saying the bill isn't restrictive enough), immigration (the bill doesn't let illegals buy coverage on newly created insurance exchanges), and the bill's overall cost.

To paraphrase Bette Davis: Buckle your seat belts...

Meantime, the President makes what looks to be his final public pitch for health care today, when he travels to Strongsville, Ohio for his 53rd major speech on this issue.

The Schedule

1:05PM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks on health care reform
Walter F. Ehrnfelt Recreation and Senior Center
Strongsville, Ohio

4:15PM THE PRESIDENT meets with senior advisors
Oval Office

Latest Presidential Approval Polls

Gallup: 49% Approve, 44% Don't (month ago was 41%-41%)
Rasmussen: 46% Approve, 53% Don't (month ago: 48%-51%)
Associated Press/GfK: 53% Approve, 46% Don't average of all polls: 49.1% Approve, 45.8% Don't

On This Day

...from the History

1965: President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress to urge the passage of legislation guaranteeing voting rights for all.

Using the phrase "we shall overcome," borrowed from African-American leaders struggling for equal rights, Johnson declared that "every American citizen must have an equal right to vote." Johnson reminded the nation that the Fifteenth Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War, gave all citizens the right to vote regardless of race or color. But states had defied the Constitution and erected barriers. Discrimination had taken the form of literacy, knowledge or character tests administered solely to African-Americans to keep them from registering to vote.

"Their cause must be our cause too," Johnson said. "Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome."

On August 6, 1965, Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, which made it illegal to impose restrictions on federal, state and local elections that were designed to deny the vote to blacks.

Presidential Quote

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." - George Washington

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