We've all seen Barack Obama's smile. We've even heard him laugh as others poked fun at him, or as he poked fun at others.
But on Saturday, speaking to House Democrats on Capitol Hill in advance of the momentous health-care reform bill vote, his sense of humor was put to a higher purpose - and yet kept its genuine hilarity.
Speaking about his proposal, and about the debate that ensued, Obama called his supporters to his side and dismissed his detractors with a cleverly worded line. (Transcript from here; I cleaned up a few typos.)
a year of debate, after every argument has been made by just about
everybody - we're 24 hours away. As some of you know, I'm not
somebody who spends lot of time surfing the cable channels, but I'm not
completely in the bubble. I have a sense of what the coverage
has been and mostly, it's been obsession with: "What will this mean for
the Democratic party? What will this mean for the President's polls?
How will this play out in November? Is this good or bad for the
Democratic majority? What does it mean for those swing districts?
I notice that there's been a lot of friendly advice offered all across
town. Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Karl Rove, they're all warning you
of the horrendous impact if you support this legislation. Now, it
could be that they are suddenly having a change of heart and they are
deeply concerned about their Democratic friends. They are
giving you the best possible advice in order to assure that Nancy Pelosi
remains Speaker, and that Harry Reid remains Leader, and that all of
you keep your seats. That's a possibility.
Smart man, with a strong insight into Washington-as-usual, used, humorously, to his advantage.