By Sam Youngman - 09/10/09 03:41 PM EDT
President Barack Obama continued his healthcare reform push Thursday morning and brought a familiar audience along for the ride.
The morning after his address to a joint session of Congress, Obama offered a shorter version of his plan to the American Nurses Association — just two months after the group last appeared at the White House.
"I am so pleased to be joined by all of you. And I've said it before and I will say it again: I just love nurses," Obama said. "I don't know what it is. I love nurses. Michelle knows about it. It's OK."
The president repeated the story of his daughter Sasha's battle with meningitis and how much comfort the nurses provided the president and first lady at that time.
The speech could provide new fodder for his critics. One criticism of the president is that he often repeats his healthcare message without offering anything new.
But the president did point to new information from the Census Bureau that shows in the last 12 months another 6 million people have been added to the ranks of the uninsured.
"And we know that during this period of time, the number of adults who get their coverage at the workplace has dropped by 8 million people," Obama said.
And, as he did in his address Wednesday night, Obama reminded his critics that he will "not permit reform to be postponed or imperiled by the usual ideological diversions."
"We don't need more partisan distractions," Obama said, adding that "we have talked this issue to death, year after year, decade after decade."
While Obama's love for nurses has not changed in the last two months, his timeline for passing reform has.
In July, Obama said he was planning to talk about healthcare reform "for the next two to three weeks until we've got a bill off the Senate and we've got a bill out of the House."
"Then we'll deserve a few weeks' rest before we come back and finally get a bill done so we can sign it right here in the Rose Garden," Obama said at the time.