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To pass healthcare reform, Democrats look for House 'swing votes'

The race for House votes on the healthcare reform bill is shaping up to be too close to call. Much of the lobbying this week will focus on a small group of House Democrats seen as 'swing votes.'

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President Obama spoke about healthcare reform Monday in Strongsville, Ohio.

Jim Young/Reuters

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It’s crunch time for a small group of House Democrats whose votes will decide the fate of President Obama’s healthcare reform legislation.

House leaders say they’ll have a make-or-break roll call on healthcare by the end of the week. Does Speaker Nancy Pelosi have the support to pass Mr. Obama’s top domestic priority?

Yes. No. Maybe. Not yet. Soon. Or never. The one prediction that is sure to come true is this: It’s going to be close.

Obama on Monday appealed to wavering House members to set aside their fears and do what he said is the right thing for the country.

“We need courage,” he said in an appearance in Strongsville, Ohio.

On Sunday, Rep. James Clyburn (D) of South Carolina, the House majority whip, said Democrats did not yet have the 216 votes necessary to pass the bill, but that he expects to have them soon.

There is some evidence that White House and Democratic leadership lobbying is making progress. Rep. James Oberstar (D) of Minnesota, who voted against an earlier version of the bill because its language regarding federal funding of abortion was not strict enough, said he was prepared to vote “yes” this time, despite the fact that the language has not been changed.

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