Obama: I Didn’t Campaign On A Public Option; Progressives: Excuse Me?!

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December 23, 2009 5:13 a.m.

Yesterday, President Barack Obama created a firestorm among progressives when he told the Washington Post something readily falsifiable.

Echoing an idea first put forth by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Obama said, “I didn’t campaign on the public option.”

In fact, though the public option wasn’t a regular part of his stump speech, Obama appointed the public option’s intellectual father, Jacob Hacker, to his health care advisory committee, and his campaign’s health care white paper prominently featured a government run plan, with no mandate requiring uninsured people to buy insurance. The bill he will likely sign next year will do the opposite.

Progressives have taken notice, and responded rapidly.

That’s from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. It will run in DC and Wisconsin–home to Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), on whom many progressives are pinning their final hopes for a public option–with a $40,000 initial buy, supplemented by online fundraising.

“President Obama should frankly feel ashamed that he promised Americans a public option got people to believe real change was possible, and then never truly fought for it — instead, pushing an insurance mandate that he specifically campaigned against,” said PCCC co-founder Adam Green. “Hopefully, our ad inspires one brave senator to represent the will of the people and insist that a public option be in any final bill.”

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