President Obama released his version of a health care reform bill on Monday. As Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein put it, "The White House took ownership of health care today in a way that actually hasn't been seen to this point."
But, Stein told Keith Olbermann on MSNBC's Countdown, that doesn't mean Obama is going to take the lead on salvaging the public option, an element left out of today's proposal.
"Harry Reid, it's in his hands," said Stein. "If he wants it, he's got to bring it to a vote and got to get the 51 Senators." If that happens, then Obama would be expected to support the public option.
"The White House doesn't want to get out in front of this for some unfounded fear that it would stir up controversy," explained Stein, before pointing out the irony that Obama might need the public option to win support for health care reform from House progressives.
Asked why Obama seems so eager to compromise and deal with Republicans in public when the Democrats may have to force the legislation through without bipartisan support, Stein pointed out that concessions made by the left were taking away GOP talking points.