20090826 health care reform 18
Residents hold up posters during a town hall meeting on health care reform at South Lakes High School in Reston, Va. - 


Bill Radke: As we said, Kennedy's illness had kept him out of the current health care debate.

The legislation is on hold in Congress
and in the public, it's dominated lately by images of Obama critics hollering at town hall meetings. Well today, Democrats are launching a campaign to show the public support for health care reform. And reporter Tamara Keith has that.

Tamara Keith: A red, white and blue bus pulls into Phoenix tonight -- the start of an 11-city tour. No rock stars will be on board. Just political operatives and volunteers with Organizing for America. That's the Democratic party's grassroots branch. Jeremy Bird is with the group. He says they want to send a message to members of Congress.

Jeremy Bird: What we want to send folks back to D.C. with is a message from folks who want the status quo to change. They're looking for health insurance reform to happen now, in 2009.

In the next two weeks there will be more than 2,000 rallies, town hall meetings and phone banks. Jacki Schechner is with Health Care for America Now.

Jacki Schechner: I think when the opposition kicked up in a vocal way, it became time to say, OK we speak for the majority of the public and let's make sure that our events show that.

Because in politics, perception equals reality. And as it stands now, the proposed health care overhaul has a real image problem.

In Washington, I'm Tamara Keith for Marketplace.