Seems that President Obama sounds ambivalent about a public option (government-run health insurance) only when he’s on TV or talking to the press.
Behind the scenes his administration is campaigning Senate leaders to ram a public option into the Senate healthcare bill even though the Senate Finance Committee, which is in charge of drafting the bill, has so far rejected it.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
[S]enior administration officials are holding private meetings almost daily at the Capitol with senior Democratic staff to discuss ways to include a version of the public plan in the health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans to bring to the Senate floor later this month, according to senior Democratic congressional aides.
Among those regularly in the meetings are Obama’s top health care adviser, Nancy-Ann DeParle, aides to Reid, and Senate finance and health committee staff, both of which developed health care bills.
At the same time, Obama has been reaching out personally to rank-and-file Senate Democrats, telephoning more than a dozen lawmakers in the last week to press the case for action.
Administration officials are also distributing talking points and employing other campaign-style devices to rally support for passing a bill this fall.
The White House initiative, unfolding largely out of public view, follows months in which the president appeared to defer to senior lawmakers on Capitol Hill as they labored to put together gargantuan health care bills.
It also marks a critical test of Obama’s command of the inside game in Washington in which deals are struck behind closed doors and wavering lawmakers are cajoled and pressured into supporting major legislation.
So much for Obama’s New Era of Transparency.
Finder’s fee: Drudge