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Public Option Pressure: As Stories Leak WH And Dem Leaders Say No Decision Has Been Made

Dems: Reports Of Death Of Public Option Are Greatly Exaggerated

Christina Bellantoni

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), President Barack Obama

House leadership sources are telling TPMDC they think news on the
"robust" public option is leaking out to pressure House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi as the health care discussions are getting hotter, and closer to
the final deal.

Politico's story this morning suggests Pelosi doesn't have the votes, but our sources insist the leadership isn't yet at that stage.

Presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett jabbed at the Politico story
while appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe today, saying of the reporter
who penned the piece, "I don't know whether Mike Allen can actually
count votes or not."

But House sources think Democrats may have spoken with Allen to apply pressure on Pelosi at this late stage in the game.

Sources also knocked down a suggestion that President Obama
expressed his preference for a type of public option during a huddle
with Senate Democratic leaders last night at the White House.

An administration source tells TPMDC that last night Senate leaders
updated Obama on their progress toward the final merger. The group
discussed a public option that includes a state opt-out clause, but
stressed they had not made a final decision.

Senators are "still working through the substance and talking to
their members about it," the source said. "They didn't ask for the
president's endorsement since no decision has been made."

"No decision has been made," two other sources said this morning.

The House leadership continues to keep its eye on the prize of 218
votes, and believes that any of the public option plans being
considered will result in a strong bill.

House Democrats are holding a caucus meeting at 9:30 a.m. and TPMDC will keep you posted.

The Democratic whip's office has been surveying members on the
public option for the last several days to get a sense of where they
stand on different elements of the bill, a strategy that will inform
the final version of what the House introduces.

Jarrett, one of Obama's closest advisers, said it was "too soon to
tell" if the White House would get the public option it prefers.

"We're going to keep pushing until the very last moment," Jarrett said.

Late update: Here's video of Jarrett.


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