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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Public Option

According to Marc Ambinder, a White House aide backed away from Secretary Selebius's backaway from the public option for health care. Actually, strategic ambiguity on the public option is nothing new. Consider this press briefing from July 13:

Q Okay. Rahm Emanuel said last week about public options, "a goal of this legislation on health care reform is to lower costs and improve competition. The goal is nonnegotiable; the path is" -- leaving out the public option. And today you have said -- you've not declared the President would veto a bill without a public option in it. Taken together, should we therefore assume, with those two comments on the record, that a public option is simply not essential, an essential component, of a finished product on health care reform?

MR. GIBBS: I think the President --

Q And if not, explain to me why not.

MR. GIBBS: Well, I think the President, again -- don't quote Rahm, don't quote me, quote the President. I think if you look back at the transcript from the press conference we did a couple of Tuesdays ago, I think the President addresses this.

Q Well, speaking of press conferences, Friday in L'Aquila the President laid out what he called his "clear parameters." Public option was not listed among the clear parameters he mentioned.

MR. GIBBS: I'd have to go back and look at the transcript.