• This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," September 12, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    PAUL GIGOT, HOST: Coming up next, President Obama doubles down on his health care bet, paying lip service to his opponents concerns, but making few concessions. Is it enough to rally the Democrats?

    Plus, the Supreme Court and free speech. Why Sonia Sotomayor's first cases of justice could spell sweeping changes for campaign finance law.

    And a New Hampshire judge orders a home-schooled girl to attend public school, citing her rigid Christian faith.

    "The Journal Editorial Report" starts right now.

    Welcome to "The Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.

    In a speech that may have helped salvage the Democrats' health care agenda, President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress this week conceding very little to his opponents and promising his $900 billion plan will not add to the federal budget deficit.


    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I will not sign it if adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period. And to prove I'm serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don't materialize.



    GIGOT: Joining the panel this week,"Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; senior editorial page writer, Joe Rago; and Washington columnist, Kim Strassel.

    Dan, so the story now is in the polls, a bump up in support for health care. And a lot of people in Washington talking about new momentum. Did he save the day for the Democrats?

    DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: Look, this was a speech to a joint session of Congress. That's a big deal. And the president is doing this for a piece of legislation? This is a guy that's running from behind. We're entering the football season. This is like the Obama team's on the 20 and they're just trying to push this ball to midfield. I think he got it to midfield but mainly what he did, it seems to me, in that speech, is make clear to everyone by the bill is in trouble. It's in trouble because they're trying to put their arms around 17 percent of the economy. It was an extremely complicated speech.

    GIGOT: That's for sure.

    Joe, let's talk about some of the arguments the president made, particularly this one that says its $900 billion. That's the price tag which he put on it, which is smaller than the other price tags. But is this realistic to talk about not adding a dime to the deficit?

    JOE RAGO, SENIOR EDITORIAL PAGE WRITER: I don't think so. No one in Congress has written a bill yet that doesn't increase the deficit. The House bill increases it by $239 billion.

    GIGOT: And that's with some pretty favorable accounting.

    RAGO: With some really favorable accounting.

    GIGOT: And only for the first ten years.