In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Obama Rallies Dems To Wrap Up Health Care Bill

Newscom / Robert Trippett

But the senators on either side of the public option divide saw things differently.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) told reporters Obama's presentation was only persuasive to those who have already decided to vote for the bill. "I think he was...for those who have made a decision to be supportive, I think he was persuasive," Nelson said.

"My position has not changed at all," said Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL). "I've compromised from a single payer, to a strong public option with Medicare plus five, to now a negotiated bill with an opt out. So I've made my moves."

Burris went on: "I sent word, some time ago, back to the president that if the bill comes up and they need sixty votes and there's not a public option in it, it's always been my position that I would not support a bill that does not have a public option in it."

I asked Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), a Senate veteran who's supportive of the bill whether he thought the President had moved anybody off the fence. "I think there's a lot of pressure building on those who are on the other side of...this issue," he told me. "And I think that, hopefully, they will see the ultimate value in this."

About The Author


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