President Barack Obama is considering giving a major speech detailing specifics on what he would like to see included in a health-care reform bill, a senior White House aide said Wednesday.It may already be too late, but Obama is at least trying to correct the program and salvage something out of this he can sign into law. Will the public option be on that list? John Aravosis seems to think the answer is "no."
Senior advisor David Axelrod told CNN, the president is looking at the possibility of a speech as "one of his options" in pushing forward his health care agenda after he returns from vacation at Camp David next week.
Obama has outlined broad principles for what he would like in health-care reform, but he has left most details to leaders in Congress. Now, White House aides say, the dynamic has changed.
"We're entering a new season," Axelrod said. "It's time to synthesize and harmonize these strands and get this done."
Another administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity when discussing strategy, said the new phase was "driven in part by the actions of some in the GOP, including Senators Grassley and Enzi."
The official added, the White House believes those actions indicate that the two key Republicans — Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Mike Enzi of Wyoming, who are part of a bipartisan group negotiating a health care bill, "are essentially walking away from the table."
Axelrod has also confirmed that Obama considers the public option dead. But he thinks the "spirit" of Obama's campaign promise on what we were told was his signature issue lives on. Seriously. The spirt."Gone but not forgotten"?As to the fate of a government option plan to compete with private insurance, Axelrod suggested the controversial concept is gone but not forgotten: "The spirit that led him to support a public option is still very much at play here and so you know he wants competition. He wants choice. "What other campaign promises does President Obama now consider null and void, even though their spirit lives on? Not to mention, is this what we should expect on every issue from the President - that he won't fight for anything he's promised, let the Republicans roll him, then he'll finally come in at the end and accept any deal, now matter how bad? If he's willing to do this on what he claimed was the most important issue of his presidency - health care reform - then no promise, no issue, and no constituency is safe.
You mean like the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate and Obama's second term?
Hey, it's crunch time, folks. If Obama's going to really drop the public option, then it's over.