AT LEAST SOMEONE’S OPTIMISTIC…. Almost all of the talk I’ve heard over the last 24 hours about health care reform has been negative and pessimistic. For every step forward, there’s been a step back. The AMA comes through, but the CBO doesn’t. One House committee moves forward, another is slowed by Blue Dogs. Six “centrists” want to delay the entire process in such a way that puts reform itself in peril.

Despite this talk — or, just as likely, because of this talk — President Obama delivered a brief set of remarks this afternoon. There wasn’t any news, per se, in the remarks, other than the president’s apparent confidence that, setbacks notwithstanding, reform really is going to come together this year.

He noted, for example, the “unprecedented progress” we’ve seen thus far. That’s a fair point — we’ve never been this close to achieving the reform Americans have been waiting for over the last several decades. Obama also emphasized that reform can and will be deficit-neutral, and that reform isn’t really an option with an untenable status quo.

“I realize that the last few miles of any race are the hardest to run,” the president said. But, perhaps referencing the unfounded fears of the six “centrist” senators who want to bring the process to a halt, Obama added, “Now is not the time to slow down. And now is certainly not the time to lose heart.”

The president went on to say, “[T]hose who are betting against this happening this year are badly mistaken. We are going to get this done. We will reform health care. It will happen — this year. I am absolutely convinced of that.”

Well, that makes one of us.

Note, the president did not re-emphasize the pre-recess deadline, which makes sense given that that Ben Nelson and his Merry Band of Momentum Killers make it unlikely policymakers can meet the timeline the White House was hoping for.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.