Firing up support in Philadelphia
The crowd in Philadelphia went wild as the president told them healthcare reform had to be done now. There's a new urgency. A new insistence. A finger-jabbing impatience after a year of talking. One senator watching said he had new fire in his belly.
Teenagers in a choir who sung the national anthem before the president appeared hugged each other and jumped up and down with sheer delight when he finished.
If this selected crowd were in the Senate and in the House, he'd have no problem. The speech and the others that will follow it, this week and next, are intended to create a sort of moral momentum to mow down the political roadblocks.
Like just about every other elected politician in this country, he mocked the ways of Washington, where everything is measured against the political story, the poll ratings, the coming elections. He said he would do what was right, not what was popular.
It's probably why Washington DC isn't allowed representation in Congress. The politicians campaigning for office couldn't sneer at their own city.
Outside, protesters from local Tea Party groups waved placards warning of the dangers of healthcare reform. It is groups like this that have kept the debate at fever pitch, and everyone I spoke to was convinced this had nothing to do with health but was about a big government take-over, aimed at reducing the rights of citizens.
They are perhaps part of Pres Obama's problem, but not the immediate one. Before Democrats can even think of pushing the changes through the Senate using budget reconciliation, they have to get them through the House.
Democrats who worry the Senate bill funds abortion are not going to vote for the current plan. The next few weeks will tell if firing up supporters makes a dime of difference.