Democratic aides said that a "handful" of senators who are skeptical of a public plan likely could be persuaded if not to support it then at least to oppose a Republican filibuster, if the administration were to apply a bit more pressure -- or even guidance.I'm going to respectfully disagree with Mr Gibbs here. The President is at best sending mixed messages, you have only to look at last weekend's Sunday shows for that. He prefers the public option, but is willing to look at other things.
"There is a clear sense that it would be helpful," said one senior Democratic aide. "Throughout this entire debate the White House line has been 'We will weigh in when it is necessary'.... Well now we need 60 votes. So if it's not necessary now, then when will it be?"
"I think folks in general in Congress were looking to the president to clearly define his feeling on the issue," another aide said. "And I don't think he has done that on the public option from the get-go... With a lot of senators nervous because of elections or other political dynamics, it would be helpful for the president to send a strong signal that this is what he wants in the final bill."
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Tuesday insisted that the administration had already made its priorities abundantly clear. "I think the folks on Capitol Hill, based on the speech the president gave on Capitol Hill, know where he stands," Gibbs said, in response to a question from the Huffington Post at his morning gaggle with reporters.
The bill has to have something in it, either the public option, or not the public option. Can't have both.
Choose one, Mr. President. It really is that simple. They'll back you if you call for it.