(CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee, signaled Thursday that he really means business when it comes to health care reform.
An elderly African-American man presented Obama, the first African-American to secure the nomination of a major party, with a gift. Charles Edwards, who told Obama he was 95 years old, gave Obama a long maple walking stick.
WATCH Obama's reaction to the gift.
"It's beautiful," Obama told Edwards. "And, if members of Congress don't pass my health care bill, I'm ready," Obama said wielding the stick as supporters laughed and cheered.
"I'll whup 'em," he joked. "They better not mess with me. I'll have that stick."
Obama's remarks at the event in Bristol, Virginia focused on health care reform. But the Illinois senator began his speech by praising former rival Sen. Hillary Clinton. "I congratulate her on her great achievement and I know that I'm a better candidate because I ran against her." Obama also told the crowd Clinton was "tough." "She is just an outstanding candidate and a great public servant," he added. (Related video: Obama commends Clinton)
Obama also used the occasion to emphasize the fact that he had bested Clinton in a long, hard-fought battle for their party's nod. "I am here to report that my faith has paid off," Obama said, referring to his belief that the non-traditional messages of his candidacy would resonate with the public. "And, I stand before you as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States of America." (Related video: Obama claims nomination)