At the White House, it's hurry up and wait as historic health-care vote looms
By Michael D. Shear
President Obama popped in on an 11 a.m. senior staff meeting in the office of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel Sunday morning as he waited for the House of Representatives to vote on health care, his top domestic priority.
"He's in the West Wing, getting updates, dropping in on staff, and like the rest of America, examining the rubble of his bracket," a senior White House official said. "He's preparing to make and take member phone calls as we move toward the vote."
In the West Wing, top White House aides settled in for a long day of waiting. As House members prepared to reconvene at 1 p.m., senior White House officials like Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had televisions tuned to the NCAA basketball tournament -- not CSPAN.
With the White House mess closed -- as it always is on Sundays -- the president's advisers were also on the prowl for lunch, and maybe dinner, that they could bring back to their desks.
Officials urged reporters to expect a long wait but said it was likely that Obama would make remarks about the vote's outcome, even if it takes place late into the night.
The White House refused to comment on reports that top Obama lawyers were in discussions with a handful of pro-life lawmakers about the possibility that the president might issue an executive order clarifying his intent that the government not subsidize abortion.
Michael D. Shear
March 21, 2010; 1:11 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Capitol Briefing , Health Care
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