Obama's make or break speech

In this new article for the FT, I preview Obama's big speech on Wednesday:

The speech that Barack Obama will give to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday could be the most important of his presidency. Mr Obama is fighting to revive his flagging healthcare initiative. But more is at stake than that.

If the healthcare project fails, it will be a serious blow to the president's power. Mr Obama's popularity with independent voters has already fallen. He faces opposition from Republicans and anger among many of his own supporters. Pollsters are talking about a big reverse at next year's mid-term elections. On Wednesday, the success or failure of this presidency may be on the line.

The speech is a gamble, though not because Mr Obama's rhetorical powers are in doubt. More than once during last year's election campaign he used a big address to recover from setbacks and vault forward. But one wonders whether high-minded inspiration - Mr Obama's speciality - will be adequate this time.