Maybe Obama (or Rahm) isn’t backing off the public option. We have to lobby this one ourselves.

Earlier today, John did a post titled, Dem Senators: White House Open To Dropping Public Option.” Kinda speaks for itself and wouldn’t be a surprise after yesterday’s press conference where Obama repeatedly refused to take any kind of uncompromising position on the public option. Some Senators and Representatives filter that through their little brains and hear “no public option.” Amazing how people on the Hill, who campaigned to fix health care, balk at really fixing health care. It’s like all thos campaign promises were just blather.

Anyway, this afternoon, via Greg Sargent, we hear from Senator Kent Conrad that maybe it wasn’t so clear cut:

A key Democratic Senator who met with Rahm Emanuel last night is denying an explosive report saying Emanuel privately signaled the White House’s willingness to take the public option off the table to get health care reform done.

A spokesperson for Senator Kent Conrad tells me that Emanuel was making a far more general comment and was “in no way” talking about doing away with the public option.

This story has been raging since Bloomberg reported Conrad and fellow Senator Max Baucus’s claim that Emanuel had told Senators that Obama could nix the public option. Bloomberg quoted Conrad saying Emanuel and Obama are “open to alternatives” to a public plan.

Still not all that comforting.

Jane Hamsher thinks we need to take matters into our own hands — and she’s right. We not only need to make sure there is a public option, we need to find enough House members who will vote NO if there is no public option:

Yesterday we kicked off our citizen whip count effort to demand that a public option be part of any health care reform, and introduced our new Whip Count Tool.

Yes, indeed FireDogLake makes it very easy to participate using that “Public Option Whip Count Tool.” Key points, via Jane:

Remember — we’re not just asking them to support a public plan that is 1) nationwide, 2) available from day one and 3) answerable to the voters and Congress. We’re asking them to commit to vote against anything that does not have these three features.

That’s where the power is — 40 votes against anything else can keep a bad bill from passing.

We can’t leave this one to the White House and members of Congerss. We need to lock people in.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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