Obama Reiterates Support for Public Plan

As he prepares to leave Russia and head to Italy for the G8, President Obama has understandably been focused heavily on foreign policy the past few days. But the White House in an interesting move released a statement from Obama this afternoon on an increasingly heated issue back home: health care reform. Obama's statement walked back an interview Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, gave to the Wall Street Journal Monday. In the interview, Emanuel implied the WH could deal with a reform bill that doesn't include a so-called public plan--a cornerstone of what Obama has been proposing since the camaign. "'The goal is to have a means and a mechanism to keep the private insurers honest, " Emanuel told the WSJ. "The goal is non-negotiable; the path is negotiable." Oh yeah? Well someone didn't think so, and the White House issued a short statement from the prez contradicting his top aide. "I am pleased by the progress we're making on health care reform and still believe, as I've said before, that one of the best ways to bring down costs, provide more choices, and assure quality is a public option that will force the insurance companies to compete and keep them honest," Obama said in the statement. "I look forward to a final product that achieves these very important goals." As your Gaggler has noted before, Obama has repeatedly dodged the question of whether he'd veto a bill without a government option. Does this statement clear that question up?