Pelosi rates Obama's speech one for the ages

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Kennedy, Roosevelt, Lincoln -- President Obama matched them all.

At least that was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's take on the president's health care speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night.

"Last night, President Obama delivered what I believe to be one of the greatest speeches ever delivered in the Congress of the United States," Mrs. Pelosi told reporters Thursday at the opening of her weekly Capitol Hill news conference.

Historians will wait for the outcome of those fights and whether Mr. Obama wins before deciding whether his oratory was truly "great," said Rick Shenkman, a presidential historian at George Mason University.

Beyond the presidents, the list of world leaders who have delivered notable speeches to joint sessions of Congress is long, and includes South African President Nelson Mandela, who in 1994 challenged Americans to make sure the "new world order" went beyond just rich countries, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who after the Sept. 11 attacks told lawmakers in a 2003 address that "destiny put you in this place in history in this moment in time, and the task is yours to do."

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