The emotional speech that could unite House Republicans

Story highlights

  • Rep. Brian Mast is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan
  • He lost both of his legs
  • The Florida congressman told colleagues his own personal story

Washington (CNN)Republican Rep. Brian Mast, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who lost both of his legs, told reporters he recounted his own experience to his colleagues at the closed-door GOP conference meeting Thursday night over the health care bill.

The Florida congressman told fellow lawmakers his own personal story about sticking together in combat.
"I've just never been in a battle that we only had to fire one shot. I've never been in a battle with a perfect plan. And even being able to say that -- we won every single one of them, because of that unanimity, our ability to win together as a unit," Mast said.
"I wish you could have seen the passion that was in that room," Mast said about the meeting.
A GOP source told CNN that members listened intently to the story and some got emotional.
Mast said he plans to be up late into the night Thursday reviewing the details of all the language in the bill, but he said it is "very likely" he'll vote for the GOP bill. He even wants to be the first member on the House floor Friday casting his vote.
"It is my goal to be in there and cast the first vote for the direction that I'm going to vote," Mast said. "I hope that is the goal of every representative -- be the first one in there, don't be a follower and wait to see if it hits 214, or wait to see if it looks like it's only going to get 200.
"Go out there and do what your commitment is to do and have a reason to back that up."