Democrats won health reform legislation by sticking together "even in the darkest hours," Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said Tuesday.
As President Barack Obama signs healthcare legislation into law this morning, Dodd said that perseverance by the president and congressional Democrats ended up leading toward health reform.
"The Democrats stayed together. The House Democrats did an incredible job," Dodd said during a brief appearance on MSNBC before Obama was set to sign the bill at the White House. "I think by staying together, staying committed to this...we were able to get the job done."
The post-mortems on the healthcare reform effort, which spanned months in Congress, have already begun. A Washington Post profile on Tuesday cast the aftermath of Sen. Scott Brown's (R-Mass.) election as one of the most dispiriting points in the health reform push for Democrats in the House and Senate.
"We stayed with it, even in the darkest hours," said Dodd, who piloted a version of the health bill through the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in the absence of its chairman, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).
Dodd credited the inspiration of Kennedy, whose name had been invoked often in the healthcare debate since his death in August, as well as Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for helping to lead the way to today's bill signing.
He also said the strength of the party was as strong as ever, despite polls showing Democrats having taken some political guff over the healthcare bill.
"I think we're in good shape, we're in strong shape," Dodd said.