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After a rough and tumble start to the day, the House's public option predicament remains mostly unchanged. Speaker Nancy Pelosi still wants a robust plan, pegged to Medicare, but she's finding it difficult to round up the necessary votes. Undecided Democrats are being put on the spot and are doing everything they can to slink away from the discussion. In the face of this predicament, Pelosi is acknowledging that the more progressive public option may not happen.

"The atmosphere has changed. When we were dealing with the idea that the Senate had nothing, it was really important, again, to go in with the most muscle for the middle class with a robust public option," Pelosi said at the news conference.

"This is about the endgame now," she said.

Though the push is still on for the robust public option, that seems about as clear a sign as any that leadership is at least preparing for the possibility that their monumental push might not succeed.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a potential president candidate, says that his state should opt out of the public option if given the chance.

"I don't know if we would opt out, but I personally would like to opt out because I don't like government-run health care," Pawlenty said.

This shouldn't be too much of a shocker, considering that Pawlenty had previously talked about invoking the Tenth Amendment and attempting to nullify health care reform at the state level. Really, being given permission by the federal government to opt out isn't much in comparison.

It's unlikely that Minnesota actually would opt out, due to its legislature being heavily Democratic. But hey, Pawlenty can dream. And he can court the national GOP base.

In a strongly-worded statement today, the Congressional Tri-Caucus, which represents three minority caucuses, denounced a call by four GOP lawmakers for an investigation into whether Muslim "intern spies" have infiltrated the Hill.

"These charges smack of an America of sixty years ago where lists of 'un-American' agitators were identified," said Reps. Michael Honda (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY). They are the chairs of the Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Black Caucus, and the Hispanic Caucus, respectively.

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The anti-rape amendment introduced by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) may be stripped from the defense appropriations bill by Appropriations chairman Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), the Huffington Post reports.

Multiple sources told reporter Sam Stein that the provision -- which would prohibit the Pentagon from hiring contractors whose employment contracts prevent employees from taking work-related allegations of rape and discrimination to court -- is being targeted by defense contractors. Their lobbyists have reportedly flooded Inouye's office, worried they may lose contracts or open themselves up to lawsuits.

One source said it "looks increasingly likely" that Inouye will remove the amendment.

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A Tea Party activist today used a U.S. military email address to call for "civil disobedience" in opposition to the policies of the Obama administration.

In a message sent this morning to fellow members of the Tea Party Patriots, who had been discussing movement strategy, Richard A. Correa Sr., who identifies himself as a retired sergeant, wrote:

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Here's an important question on the NY-23 race: Now that the Republican Party's 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has broken with the party to support a third party Conservative over the moderate GOP candidate, who does her former running mate and ex-presidential nominee John McCain support?

I have placed multiple messages with McCain's office, asking which candidate he supports in the special election, and whether he agrees with Palin's denunciation of the GOP for putting up a moderate nominee. They have not gotten back to me.

In a tense, closed door caucus meeting this morning, during which House Democrats were made to go on the record on the question of whether they'd vote for a health care bill with a robust public option, some of the caucus' most nervous members got a bit of perspective from its longest serving members.

"It was really fairly simple speech," said Rep. John Dingell (D-MI). "All I did was to remind the members that the Republicans are out there to beat us by seeing to it that we accomplish nothing during this Congress especially on health care. It's exactly the same tactic, the same strategy they used in 1993. And I reminded them that that tactic took control of the House from us, because, one of the principal reasons was, we were not able to pass a health insurance bill."

Dingell tells me, "I reminded them that Democrats were divided on the issue. And I told them that if they want to come back and control the Congress they should get behind this bill."

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The Chamber of Commerce is trying to raise money off of that hoax press conference organized this week by a group of activist pranksters.

In an email to supporters, obtained by TPMmuckraker, Chamber exec Bill Miller writes that his organization is "under attack" and claims "MoveOn.org and other extremist groups are harassing our members."

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Members of the progressive lobby are calling on White House Chief Of Staff Rahm Emanuel put some of his legendary pressure on Congress to pass the public option.

The NAACP, the Campaign For America's Future and MoveOn.org dispatched a letter to Emanuel's office today asking backup in the fight for a public option. From the letter, as reported by The Hill:

"We respectfully ask that the Office of the President take a stronger stand on a robust public option in order to enact true health care reform this year."

Multiple sources tell TPMDC that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is very close to rounding up 60 members in support of a public option with an opt out clause, and are continuing to push skeptical members. But they also say that the White House is pushing back against the idea, in a bid to retain the support of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

"They're skeptical of opt out and are generally deferential to the Snowe strategy that involves the trigger," said one source close to negotiations between the Senate and the White House. "they're certainly not calming moderates' concerns on opt out."

This new development, which casts the White House as an opponent of all but the most watered down form of public option, is likely to yield backlash from progressives, especially those in the House who have been pushing for a more maximal version of reform.

It also suggests, for perhaps the first time, that the White House's supposed hands off approach, to ostensibly allow the two chambers in Congress to craft their own bills, has been discarded.

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