"The Public Option Debate All Over Again"

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JONATHAN COHN DECEMBER 7, 2010

"The Public Option Debate All Over Again"

Fascinating press conference today from Barack Obama. His comments at the end about purists were, from my perspective, absolutely correct, substantively. 

The truth is that there are a lot of people who just don't accept that the President of the United States can want something, fight for it, fight effectively and correctly, and still not get it. If it doesn't happen, it must have been—in Obama's words—a "betrayal." Those people are wrong.

And yet it's awful hard to believe that calling people out on it—his allies, the activists within the Democratic party--will do him any good.

One can never tell, with politicians, what's "real" and what's for show, but his answer sure sounded like a lot of frustration coming through in a way that won't help him with the rest of the nation, but really will cause trouble with people he needs support from. Perhaps it was what polling and focus groups say people want to hear, but my money is on frustration.

All in all, one of the more interesting presidential press conferences. It's good to see that the format can still work.

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posted in: jonathan cohn, politics, united states, barack obama

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