President Barack Obama plans to hit the road this week to start aggressively selling the benefits of the health care overhaul and give nervous Democratic lawmakers some political cover across the country, according to three Democratic officials familiar with the plans.
The president will take many such trips in the weeks ahead, following up on promises to push back on Republican attacks in the months leading up to the November mid-term elections, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to publicly discuss the emerging White House strategy.
Which cities Obama will visit were not immediately available.
One of the officials said, though there was no quid pro quo, the White House had "strongly intimated" to lawmakers that Obama "would go out and sell this thing" after they passed the health care overhaul.
"We're certainly going to be out there," said a second Democratic official familiar with the president's plans. "We think this is a tremendous step forward for individuals and small businesses. We want them to know what comes next."
Organizing for America, Team Obama's grass-roots organization, has collected pledges from people nationwide for a total of 9.3 million volunteer hours to campaign for lawmakers who supported the overhaul, according to the Democratic officials.
Late Sunday evening, Organizing for America planned to send an e-mail from the president to its list of about 13 million supporters. The e-mail will thank Democratic lawmakers for their votes and will tout the benefits of the overhaul. No Republicans voted for it.
Organizing for America is already circulating a list of "Key Provisions That Take Effect Immediately" to help lawmakers counter the belief that many of the benefits do not kick in for several years.
Their talking points on provisions that kick in quickly tout 18 provisions, including: