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Health care: Among the not-so-official stuff

Biden drops a big ol' F-bomb

Leave it to Vice President Joe Biden to add a little, ahem, flair to the signing of a health care bill affecting millions of people.

"This is a big f------ deal," Biden told President Barack Obama after introducing him at Tuesday's ceremony at the White House.

Biden appeared to be offering that perspective to Obama privately, but his remark was captured on audio and video.

The episode quickly got buzz on the Internet.

The White House response? Embrace it.

"And yes, Mr. Vice President, you're right," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a post, or "tweet," on Twitter, the social networking site. You can view the video at links.tampabay.com

11-year-old from Seattle was there in memory of his mother

Alongside President Obama when he signed the health reform legislation into law was Seattle fifth-grader Marcelas Owens.

Obama said, "Today I am signing this reform bill into law on behalf of my mother, who argued with insurance companies even as she battled cancer in her final days. . . .

"I'm signing it for 11-year-old Marcelas Owens who is also here. Marcelas lost his mom to an illness, and she didn't have insurance and couldn't afford the care that she needed. So in her memory he has told her story across America so that no other children would have to go through what his family has experienced."

Tifanny Owens died of pulmonary hypertension in 2007 at the age of 27, leaving Marcelas and his two younger sisters without a mom.

Marcelas and his grandmother Gina Owens have been telling her story ever since.

"It's exciting to think that I might have played some small role in helping the health care bill pass," Marcelas said. "It's tough not having my mom around, but she's been with me in spirit every time I talk. I hope I've made her proud."

A day he had long awaited

Sen. Ted Kennedy's legacy on health care was not lost on anyone who filled the East Room of the White House for Obama's bill-signing ceremony. Members of Congress wore blue "TedStrong" wristbands in his honor and posed for pictures with Patrick Kennedy.

Caroline Kennedy, the senator's niece, sat in the front row, with other members of the storied family. Vicki Reggie Kennedy, the late senator's widow, walked into the room with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid.

Kennedy's youngest son, Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, D-Rhode Island, had visited his father's gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday morning and left a handwritten note that read: "Dad, the unfinished business is done."

Information from the Associated Press, Seattle Times and Washington Post was used in this report.

Health care: Among the not-so-official stuff 03/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 10:45pm]
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