Obama: 'The stars are aligned' for healthcare now

President Obama used his fourth primetime press conference to try to regain lost momentum on the healthcare debate Wednesday night, but he offered almost nothing new to address the specifics that appear to have stalled the debate.

As he has nearly every day for the past week and a half, Obama pressed Congress on the urgency he sees in getting reform passed, and he again stated his desire to see something passed before the August recess.

"I'm rushed because I get letters every day from people that are being clobbered by healthcare costs, and they ask, 'Can you help?' " Obama said. He added: "If you don't set deadlines in this town, things don't happen. The default position is inertia."

The president said he is continuing to push for the August deadline because "the stars are aligned, and we need to take advantage of it."

"I want to do this right, but the American people need some relief," Obama said.

But the questions retarding more swift congressional action went unanswered again Wednesday night, as Obama acknowledged that there are many ideas for how to pay for the "one-third" of the cost that eliminating waste leaves on the table.

The president disputed the notion that he has been "out there blaming the Republicans," even as he began the news conference, as he did earlier this week, by pointing to comments by Republican Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) and a GOP strategist.

Obama did acknowledge that he has "been a little frustrated by some of the misinformation" he says Republicans have been spreading in an effort to delay or defeat reform.

But he downplayed the notion, noted repeatedly by Republicans this week, that given the significant majorities Democrats hold in both the House and the Senate, it is actually Democrats holding up the process.

The president said "regional disparities" remain one reason why Democrats are struggling to come together on reform, but he said that "is just part of the give-and-take of the legislative process."

Twice, Obama said he hopes to have some Republicans vote for whatever Democratic proposal comes to light.

In defending his approach, the president was again adamant that he wants to see a plan that is deficit-neutral, saying the "debt and deficit are deep concerns of mine."

"We have not reduced it as much as I want to, as much as we need to," he said.