President Barack Obama took the personal approach when addressing members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to inspire health-care form skeptics into action. “One caucus member told Politico that Obama won him over by ‘essentially [saying] that the fate of his presidency’ hinged on this week’s health reform vote in the House. The member, who requested anonymity, likened Obama’s remarks to an earlier meeting with progressives when the president said a victory was necessary to keep him ‘strong’ for the next three years of his term. Another caucus member, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), said, ‘We went in there already knowing his presidency would be weakened if this thing went down, but the president clearly reinforced the impression the presidency would be damaged by a loss.’ Added Serrano: ‘He was subtle, but that was the underlying theme of the meeting — the importance of passing this for the health of the presidency.’ White House officials said Obama’s recent remarks aren’t intended to personalize the debate or rally undecided Democratic members with an egocentric, ‘win one for Barry’ message. They said Obama’s point is to hammer home the idea that all Democrats would benefit from a health care win and that the party’s larger policy agenda would be damaged if the president were to lose.”
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