It remains to be seen whether America will be made physically healthier by the health care reform bill's passage, but President Obama definitely was made geopolitically healthier, according to columnist Thomas Friedman. He wrote that leaders from other countries watched the health care debate closely to gauge Obama's strength — and, thus, whether or not America would be a lame power. Defense Secretary Robert Gates agreed: "When others see the president as a winner or as somebody who has real authority in his own house, it absolutely makes a difference. . . . Failure would have badly weakened the president in terms of dealing with others — his ability to do various kinds of national security things."