In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Nelson: Public Option May Be Popular, But Opt-Outs Are Really Popular

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And what of the idea that people would prefer a partisan bill if it meant a public option rather than a bipartisan bill that scraps the public option?

"Well, I don't know. It depends on what the public option is. Once again, were talking about the public option as though there's a single definition or a single concept. There are multiple concepts about a public option and the problem is we all talk about it as though they're all the same and they're not. So that's why when somebody says 'are you for a public option?' Define the public option and I can tell you."

That doesn't quite get to the heart of the contradiction between Nelson's paeans to public's desire for bipartisanship. But Nelson does seem to accept the idea that the public wants a public option, even if that means a Democrat-only bill, and using the data to argue that what people really want is a compromise on the public option.

About The Author

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Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com