Legacy is secure but president risks losing voters
AS Democrats clinched the last eight votes they needed to turn their dream of healthcare for all into reality, a tall congresswoman from Minnesota approached a microphone in the bowels of the Capitol and lamented: "Freedom dies a little bit today."
Barack Obama's victory in the healthcare debate is a personal triumph that eluded every other Democratic president of the past century and has the potential to relaunch his presidency as a period of historic reform.
It will help millions to find affordable health insurance for the first time. Yet it has divided as never before a nation that teaches its children, in civics lessons as well as Sunday school, that the United States was built on self-reliance.