The coming 24 hours will define the Obama presidency. It is as simple as that, because we are in the endgame of his centrepiece policy initiative, the much-criticised health reform bill. The president has personally gone up Capitol Hill to engage in some last-minute arm-twisting to ensure the bill is not defeated. If it is, it will be a political wound from which he may not recover.
The Democrats believe they are within an ace of holding the 216 congressional votes needed to pass the legislation in the lower house. This means they have decided to drop the controversial “deem and pass” manouver which would have avoided the vote.
Confidence has risen as several Democrats who voted against the reforms in November have come back onside, relieving pressure from anti-abortion Democrats who oppose reforms unless a ban on using federal funds for the operations is strengthened.