UPDATE: Markey's opponent, state representative Cory Gardner took to the airwaves this weekend, appearing on Fox News to attack the health care bill. Gardner affirmed what was already widely speculated; that the race for the 4th District Congressional seat in Colorado will center around health care. "People in the 4th cingressional district in Colorado are simply outraged that the congresswoman Betsy Markey has decided not to listen to them," Gardner told Fox's Neil Cavuto.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The President used Markey as an example of how supporting the compromise health care bill could work to members' political benefit:
"Betsy's in a tough district. The biggest newspaper is somewhat conservative, as Betsy described. They weren't real happy with health-care reform, they were opposed to it. Betsy, despite the pressure, announced that she was in favor of this bill and lo and behold the next day, that same newspaper runs an editorial saying, you know what, we've considered this, we've looked at the legislation and we actually are pleased that Congresswoman Markey is supporting the legislation."
Obama was referring to the Fort Collins Coloradoan in Markey's district, which had been critical of reform efforts, but responded positively to Markey's decision on Thursday to support the bill.
Markey, a Freshman in a historically conservative Colorado district, is expected to face a tough reelection challenge. She had been wavering on health care for months, voting against the House bill in November.
The speech before Congress, which Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz described as "the most emotional speech I've ever seen him give," was meant to rally wavering Democrats to support the health care legislation.