Snowe: White House Needs to Compromise on the Public Option

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Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) may be the deciding vote–and the deciding voice–on health care reform, but for the time being she’s warning President Obama that she doesn’t support a public option without a trigger and urging the White House to compromise with other Republicans.

“I talked to [President Obama] last week while I was in Maine and I talked to him on Monday as well,” Snowe said on MSNBC earlier today. “We talked about the public option. I was … urging him if he could take the public option off the table in his speech this evening so it could provide, I think, a momentum of a different kind in moving this issue forward overall.”Despite this pressure, Obama is nonetheless planning to support the public option in his speech tonight, by some accounts very strongly. However, Snowe remains convinced that the President will be flexible on the public option when push comes to shove.

“I think he is going to be very flexible, absolutely,” Snowe noted. “I have discerned that in my previous conversations as well, that he has a practicality and a pragmatism and he recognizes that those are essential to achieving an agreement. He would prefer to have a bipartisan a agreement and broad support at that.”

“The point is I don’t support a public option. And none of my Republican colleagues do and some Democrats in the Senate and even in the House. I think the point is how do we bridge the divide?” That is why, she said, she suggested the so-called trigger mechanism months ago.

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 brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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