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Rockefeller: White House Approach To Public Option 'Difficult To Fathom' Sometimes

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Newscom / Dennis Brack

Rockefeller said that he thinks the cost-saving nature of the public option should be used to appeal to conservative Democrats, while suggesting he's open to one of the most talked about compromises. "I'm looking very much now at this opt out public option--not opt in but opt out--so you start out with a public option, and if you don't like it you can opt out....that has a sense of freedom."

There may be a sense in the caucus that it's important--for perhaps more than one reason--not to inflate expectations about the public option, particularly given the dramatic developments in the House. But Rockefeller did say he thought the public option would prevail. And in that regard, he's in agreement with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) who didn't mince words.

"This bill's going to have public option when it comes out of the Senate, it's going to have an even stronger public option when it comes out of conference," Brown told me.

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