Progressive Group Ad Targets Obama For Imperiling Public Option

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October 24, 2009 8:51 a.m.

Responding to news first reported by TPMDC, that the White House is pushing back on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s inclination to include an optional government insurance program in the Senate’s health care bill, one of the left’s most hardline progressive groups is taking aim directly at President Obama.

In an unprecedented move, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee will air a new TV ad, and is gathering signatures on an emergency petition, warning the administration not to support a health care compromise, favored by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), that could kill the public option.

The spot will air at least 100 times in Maine, augmented by an online fundraising drive. The group’s recent ad targeting Snowe helped them raise over $100,000.

The petition reads, “Every day, insurance companies deny care and let people die. Getting one Republican senator’s vote is not worth delaying reform — too many real lives are at stake. We need you to fight and state clearly that anything less than a strong public option is not change we can believe in.”

Over the course of the health care debate, liberal groups have targeted key senators standing in the way of reform. But though many on the left have long felt that the White House hasn’t done enough to ensure the creation of a public option, PCCC is the first organization to make Obama the focus of a pressure ad. You can read their email to supporters below the fold.

XXXXX,

Urgent news: Multiple media reports say that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is very close to rounding up the votes needed for a public health insurance option, but “the White House is pushing back against the idea” in order to get the support of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

Tell the White House that the support of one Republican isn’t worth a bad bill.

PLEASE SIGN OUR EMERGENCY PETITION TO PRESIDENT OBAMA TODAY:

“Every day, insurance companies deny care and let people die. Getting one Republican senator’s vote is not worth delaying reform — too many real lives are at stake. We need you to fight and state clearly that anything less than a strong public option is not change we can believe in.”

Click here to sign the emergency petition. Then, please send this to others.

The Washington Post confirms that the White House “wants Snowe on the bill” and is seriously considering Snowe’s proposed “trigger” — which would delay, and effectively kill, the public option.

As Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) recently said, “Olympia Snowe was not elected president last year.” Even her own constituents in Maine support a public option 2 to 1, and overwhelmingly oppose a trigger! Only the insurance industry supports Snowe’s proposal.

We’ll deliver this petition to the White House and let the media know about it. The more people who sign by Monday, the more powerful a message we’ll send. Please sign today — together, we can have an impact.

Thanks for being a bold progressive.

–Aaron Swartz, Stephanie Taylor, Adam Green, Michael Snook, Natasha Patel, and the PCCC team

P.S. This petition comes on the heels of some amazing progress. Days after PCCC members chipped in to air a TV ad asking “if Harry Reid is strong and effective enough a leader to pass a public option into law,” Reid is now “furiously working the phones” in support of a public option, according to the Huffington Post.

The New York Times quotes a Reid aide saying, “There is a growing sense that we need to lead on this issue…The idea is that it’s better to show some fight.” Exactly! Congrats, everyone — our activism made a difference.

Now it’s time to give the same push to President Obama that we gave Senator Reid. Please sign the emergency petition today.

* “Sources: White House Pushing Back Against Senate Public Option Opt Out Compromise,” Talking Points Memo, September 23, 2009

“White House to Reid: We hope you know what you’re doing,” Washington Post, September 23, 2009

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