From Jared Allen at The Hill:
Surveys conducted by The Hill throughout this week suggest at least 10 Democrats will reject the bill and at least a dozen more are undecided. With Republicans expected to overwhelmingly reject the bill, Democrats will need to minimize defections.
Friday’s vote will be arguably the most important of Pelosi’s career. She has labeled climate change her flagship issue and has spent weeks attempting to round up the votes to pass the measure through the House.
Many Democrats whipping the bill said it was possible that they won’t have a solid 218 yes votes until the bill is actually passed.
“A lot of times you won’t get members off the fence until you have a vote,” said Rep. Bark Stupak (D-Mich.), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
That comment stoked memories of the 2003 Medicare prescription drug vote, where Republicans lacked the votes to pass their bill until it hit the floor. After holding the vote open for nearly three hours, and following calls from then-President George W. Bush to skeptical Republicans, the measure passed.
Stupak said that Democrats had entered the critical “member management” phase.
“It’s members talking to members saying, ‘Look, we’re from similar districts. If I’m for it why can’t you be?’ ” Stupak said.
Obama joined in the effort publicly on Thursday, giving a short but widely publicized speech from the Rose Garden.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of this vote,” Obama said, at the same time acknowledging that he expected the vote to be “close.”