Obama invites liberals, centrists to White House for healthcare talk

President Barack Obama began his final legislative push for healthcare reform in earnest Thursday, inviting two groups of Democratic House members to the White House.

Just one day after Obama implored Congress for an up-or-down vote on the legislation and with a March 18th deadline for House passage of the Senate bill, Obama will meet with leaders of the minority and progressive caucuses and then the leadership of the New Democrat coalition.

The first group is composed largely of liberals who may be wary of voting for the more moderate Senate bill. Among those lawmakers, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) voted against the House bill.

Among the centrists invited to the White House, Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) voted "no" the first time around.

The meetings are closed press and were added to the president's schedule Thursday morning.

The first meeting is in the Roosevelt Room and the meeting with the New Democrat Coalition is in the Oval Office.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday morning that the president wants to see House passage of the Senate healthcare bill before March 18, when Obama is scheduled to depart for a trip to Indonesia and Australia.