Clinton Urges Action

A familiar figure was in the halls of the Capitol on Tuesday, as former President Bill Clinton joined Senate Democrats at their regular lunch meeting, urging them to act this year on health care reform.

Regardless of his health care experience, a former President always has interesting observations to make for lawmakers.

But considering that Clinton had a high profile health reform bill that went down to defeat 15 years ago, there certainly is a different kind of insight involved.

"He made a strong case for acting this year," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

"He thought by not acting in the 1990's, that hurt both economically and politically," said Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA).

"This is really a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA).

Clinton's appearance capped an odd two days of public relations by Senate Democrats, who seemed to generate little momentum for health care action in the wake of Saturday's vote in the House.

Instead of talking optimistically about action on reform, Democrats have been caught in an intra-party crossfire over abortion funding restrictions, which President Obama now says he wants out of the bill.

It was an issue that Mr. Clinton did not address according to Democratic Senators.

Clinton's argument also acknowledged the political necessities of governing, as he told Senators that if health care could be finished this year, then President Obama could focus on the economy in 2010.

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