Dingell: Obama Made the Public Option More Viable with This Speech

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September 9, 2009 6:17 p.m.

Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) is a single-payer supporter, and no parser of words, but he tells me he thinks President Obama did a superb job tonight, and increased the chances that a public option will survive the legislative process.

“It was quite an experience for me because first it was one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard, and second of all he mentioned my dad which brings no shortage of happiness to me,” Dingell said.

Dingell’s father was a single-payer advocate in the House as well, and, in his father’s memory, Dingell introduces a single-payer bill at the beginning of every Congress.

“I think a). he was clear enough and b). he was strong enough because he made it plain that the public option was the way to create an absolutely necessary thing for the bill to succeed–and that is competition.”

Does that mean the public option is more viable now than it was this morning?

“The answer to the question is yes,” Dingell told me. He said the it’s real strength is that it was a clear explication of the plan “to the American people,” and said the plan Obama outlined will be hard to oppose “if honestly listened to and honestly viewed by the listener.”

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