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Obama Rallies Supporters for Health Care Plan

President Barack Obama gave a rousing speech on health care to an enthusiastic crowd in Minneapolis on Saturday, but much of what he said was a repeat of remarks he gave to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

The president, who has promised a vigorous campaign for his initiative during the coming weeks, will also appear on CBS’ “60 Minutes— Sunday night. In the interview, a small preview of which was provided by CBS, Obama says of the health care bill, “I own it,— suggesting that he wants to pass something that will work well because the legislation will be identified with him.

Obama’s Wednesday night speech appears to have drummed up substantial new funding for Organizing for America, the grass-roots effort run by the Democratic National Committee that is backing the president’s health care push.

“In less than 48 hours, more than 450,000 of you signed messages urging Congress to pass the President’s plan — and even chipped in more than $1 million to power our campaign for change,— OFA Executive Director Mitch Stewart wrote in an e-mail to supporters.

The e-mail included a video of Obama urging his backers to continue pressing for health care reform as the battle enters its final stages. “As Organizing for America gears up for the final push, I’m asking you to stay involved in every way you can,— Obama said.

During his remarks in Minneapolis, Obama made what appeared to be a reference to the outburst Wednesday night by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who shouted “You lie!— to Obama during the speech.

“The other night I gave a speech to Congress about health care,— Obama said. “I can already see that this crowd’s a lot more fun.—

The comment was included in Obama’s prepared remarks.

The president, as he did in his weekly radio address, also touted a new report put out Saturday by the Treasury Department which states that nearly half of people under 65 will lose their health coverage at some point over the next 10 years and more than a third will go without coverage for more than one year.

Obama, as he frequently does, accused his opponents of using “scare tactics,— and he said of the prospect of losing health insurance coverage under the current system, “it could happen to anyone.—

In a statement released before the speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Obama’s proposals would cost too much and jeopardize Medicare.

“Americans are rightly concerned about a rush to hike taxes on small businesses, cut seniors’ Medicare benefits, and add trillions of dollars in more government spending and debt,— McConnell said. “The status quo is unacceptable. But so are the alternatives that the administration and Democrats in Congress have proposed.—

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