By Mark Memmott
Now that it's over, how did he do and did it make any difference?
Those are two of the morning-after questions following President Barack Obama's health care address to a joint session of Congress last night. Here's some of the early thinking:
-- CNN -- "Double-digit Post-speech Jump For Obama Plan": "Two out of three Americans who watched President Barack Obama's health care reform speech Wednesday night favor his health care plans -- a 14-point gain among speech-watchers, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll of people who tuned into Obama's address Wednesday night to a joint session of Congress."
-- The Wall Street Journal editorial board -- "Obama Doubles Down":"Democrats have wanted President Obama to drop some of his cool and fight for their health-care agenda, and last night they weren't disappointed. The President gave away very little on the substance of what Congressional leaders are proposing, even as he offered a rhetorical bow or two to the idea of compromise. The main message of his speech to Congress is that he is doubling down on his health-care bets and counting on the sheer inertia of Democratic and health industry self-interest in Washington to drive a bill into law."
-- The New York Times editorial board -- "President Obama Steps Forward": "On Wednesday night, reeling from the angry if ill-informed outbursts at town hall meetings and concerned about his slipping poll numbers, the president finally found his voice. His speech to a joint session of Congress was rhetorically powerful in its insistence that reform must finally happen -- for the sake of Americans' health and the economic health of the country. We hope it was only the start of a sustained campaign to get this essential legislation passed."
-- Conservative commentator Fred Barnes in The Weekly Standard -- Speech Didn't Change Anything: "President Obama's speech to Congress last night can be summed up rather easily. It was 40 minutes of boilerplate followed by a socko, emotional finish exploiting the death of Senator Teddy Kennedy. Which leads to this question: was Obama's finishing kick sufficient to achieve his goal of "reframing" the national debate on health care that hasn't been going his way? I don't think so."
-- Liberal (and former Clinton White House aide) commentator Paul Begala at The Daily Beast -- "A Speech Worthy Of Hillary": "Let me pay President Barack Obama the most sincere compliment I can: His health-care speech could have been given by Hillary Clinton. I did not support Barack Obama in the primaries. I preferred Hillary; first for reasons of deep affection and longstanding loyalty. But also because of health care. Hillary (and John Edwards) campaigned on an unabashedly progressive platform on health care. Barack Obama attacked Hillary in the primaries for her support of a universal mandate. Now he supports one. While his white paper on health care did call for a public option, I can't recall a time the words 'public option' crossed his lips in the campaign."
And from Morning Edition, reactions from Congress and the thoughts from people around the nation --