During an interview conducted today with the Washington Post, however, Obama made the same assertion as Klein:
Nowhere has there been a bigger gap between the perceptions of compromise and the realities of compromise than in the health-care bill. . . . Every single criteria for reform I put forward is in this bill.Most shockingly, Obama denies that the public option was ever a part of his presidential campaign -- despite the fact that his campaign literature proudly supports a public plan option:
Obama said the public option "has become a source of ideological contention between the left and right." But, he added, "I didn't campaign on the public option."Obama, however, definitely supported the public option during his campaign, but the Senate bill does not create it. Obama also dropped drug reimportation as a goal to win pharmaceutical company support. And Obama campaigned against an insurance mandate, but he now supports it as part of the Senate and House bills.
Several other bloggers have analyzed the differences between Obama's promises and the Senate bill in great detail. See here and here. Even Matthew Yglesias, one of Obama's most ardent supporters, cannot accept the proposition that the Senate bill is identical to Obama's campaign promises (see Promises Broken).
I do not have a problem with the idea of compromise. Political compromises happen all the time -- and for good reason. I do have a problem, however, with dishonesty. Claiming that a compromise has not happened when it actually has is dishonest. If the White House expects liberals to accept its political compromises, it cannot pretend that the compromises have not actually occurred.
Update: National Nurses United, the nation's largest union of nurses, opposes the Senate bill. Perhaps its members are impractical ideologues as well.
Update II: I have edited this article to include Obama's language denying that he ever campaigned for a public plan. That is a very remarkable claim.
Update III: Think Progress obliterates the notion that Obama never campaigned for the public plan. See FLASHBACK: Obama Repeatedly Touted Public Option Before Refusing To Push For It In The Final Hours.
Update IV: Even Ezra Klein breaks rank with Obama, saying that it is impossible to defend his claim that he did not campaign on the public option.