With the threat of a Republican-led filibuster looming large, Majority Leader Harry Reid is faced with the unenviable task of ushering the Senate’s version of the health care reform bill through his congressional chamber. On Wednesday, Reid started his woo-a-thon with an only slightly easier audience: moderate Democrats. –KA

AP via Google News:

Reid, D-Nev., summoned members of the Democratic rank and file to a late-afternoon closed-door caucus to show the bill he has spent weeks writing and rewriting.

He met in advance with Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Democratic moderates who have expressed reservations about the bill. “He is walking through the particulars with them,” said Reid’s spokesman, Jim Manley.

“We need 60 votes to get this bill to the floor.”

With the support of two independents, Democrats have 60 seats, the precise number needed to choke off any Republican delaying tactics. None of the 40 Republicans is expected to defect on the first test vote, expected by weekend.

Ahead lie weeks — if not more — of unpredictable maneuvering on the Senate floor, where Reid and his allies will seek to incorporate changes sought by Democrats and repel attempts by Republicans to defeat the legislation and inflict a significant political defeat on the president.

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