In it, but not of it. TPM DC

White House: Public Option Not Essential--A Sliver Of Reform

Back in July, Obama said health care reform legislation "must include an insurance exchange: a one-stop shopping marketplace where you can compare the benefits, cost and track records of a variety of plans - including a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest - and choose what's best for your family."

Later, though he issued a caveat: "I think in theory you can imagine a cooperative meeting that definition. Obviously, sort of the legal structure of it is less important than practically how can it operate."

House progressives, meanwhile, have vowed to oppose a health care reform bill that doesn't include a public option--an inconvenient reality for the White House, and one which could set the stage for a major show down after the August recess comes to the end.