Obama to take on DeMint comments

President Obama will open a primetime Wednesday press conference by defending his call for healthcare reform, and he will target one Republican critic as he does so.

In prepared remarks distributed by the White House, Obama calls out Republican Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.), though not by name, for saying that if Republicans can stop healthcare reform, "it will break" Obama.

"I understand how easy it is for this town to become consumed in the game of politics — to turn every issue into a running tally of who’s up and who’s down," Obama will say. "I’ve heard that one Republican strategist told his party that even though they may want to compromise, it’s better politics to 'go for the kill.' Another Republican senator said that defeating health reform is about 'breaking' me."

The president, who will repeat his pledge to only sign a reform bill that is deficit-neutral, says in response to DeMint that "this isn’t about me."

"I have great health insurance, and so does every member of Congress," Obama says. "This debate is about the letters I read when I sit in the Oval Office every day, and the stories I hear at town hall meetings."

Obama also pledges to sign a reform bill this year despite stalls in Congress and growing doubt that legislation will come out of both the House and Senate before the August recess.