Liveblogging: Obama takes on the left over public option

The president advocates for the public plan, but cautions the left not to be too stubborn about it

By Alex Koppelman
Published September 10, 2009 12:28AM (EDT)

President Obama hasn't gotten to the section of his address to Congress that deals with the public option yet. But the White House has sent out the full text as prepared for delivery, and it does contain a section about the public option, one that will be one of the most analyzed passages of the address.

The president does stick up for the public option -- more on that later -- but he also gets in a dig at his progressive allies. That's something this administration likes to do in order to get itself a little breathing room, but it's never popular on the left.

From the speech:

It’s worth noting that a strong majority of Americans still favor a public insurance option of the sort I’ve proposed tonight. But its impact shouldn’t be exaggerated – by the left, the right, or the media. It is only one part of my plan, and should not be used as a handy excuse for the usual Washington ideological battles. To my progressive friends, I would remind you that for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage affordable for those without it. The public option is only a means to that end – and we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal. And to my Republican friends, I say that rather than making wild claims about a government takeover of health care, we should work together to address any legitimate concerns you may have.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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