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Obama agenda: A 'public' revolt?

Politico says liberals are in "revolt" over the prospect of not having a so-called public option in a health reform bill. "A group of left-leaning House Democrats ... [say] ... a bill without a public option simply won't win enough votes in their caucus -- a sentiment that raises fresh questions about the prospects to enact sweeping health care reform this year."

The New York Post puts the liberal frustration on its cover. "Dr. O No! Liberals howl as Bam wobbles on health plan."

But: "White House press secretary Robert Gibbs insisted Monday that there has been no change in President Barack Obama's desire to see a public health insurance option be part of a healthcare bill." He said, "I got to tell you, this is one of the more curious things I've ever seen in my life… I was on a Sunday show, I said the same thing about a public option that I've said for I don't know how many weeks. [Sebelius] reiterated what the president said the day before, and you'd think there was some new policy."

The L.A. Times reports the White House's decision to back off the public option could help them get the votes they need, overall, to pass health care in the Senate. "Moderate Democratic lawmakers are now more likely to back other parts of the evolving legislation, such as prohibiting insurers from denying coverage because of preexisting conditions or cutting off benefits to ill policy-holders, as well as making it easier for small businesses to cover workers. At the same time, the White House appeared to be making a calculation that liberals would go along with the legislation even if it lacked a provision they deemed indispensable."

By the way, about a dozen people with guns, including one man with an assault rifle, were outside the Obama event in Phoenix yesterday.

The New York Times front-pages the debate over co-ops. "The White House has indicated that it could accept a nonprofit health care cooperative as an alternative to a new government insurance plan, originally favored by President Obama. But the co-op idea is so ill defined that no one knows exactly what it would look like or how effectively it would compete with commercial insurers. What is certain is that, as a substitute for a government plan, the co-op concept disappoints many liberals and stirs little enthusiasm among insurers or Republican lawmakers." 

Ever wanted to know what "actuarially sound" or "bending the curve" means? Time has published a guide to help people better understand the language in the health-care debate.

Politifact's Lou Jacobson wades into the debate over whether Republicans who voted for a provision in the 2003 Medicare prescription-drug legislation on end-of-life counseling -- but who are now opposed to a similar measure in the House health-care bill -- are being hypocritical. The short answer: The hypocrisy charge is "half true."

After hesitating doing so a few months ago, the Obama administration "made it clear for the first time in court that the president thinks the 13-year-old Defense of Marriage Act, which denies benefits to domestic partners of federal employees and allows states to reject same-sex marriages performed in other states, discriminates against gays and should be repealed."

The L.A. Times checks in on Joe Biden and determines he's still "a player."

Turning to foreign affairs… Obama and Secretary Clinton meet with Egypt's Mubarak at the White House. "Following his meeting with Mubarak, Obama will meet separately with Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton," the AP writes. "The State Department says Egypt and the U.S. have agreed that all sides in the matter -- meaning Israel, the Palestinians and Arab states -- need to take 'parallel steps' to reopen negotiations."
"Obama is trying to restore Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak as the U.S. ace-in-the-hole in its decades-long effort to forge an elusive peace among Israel and the Arabs. After a serious falling out over Bush administration pressure on human rights and democracy in Egypt, Mubarak is back in the U.S. capital for the first time in more than five years to meet with Obama on Tuesday. The relationship is far from healed, despite Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton having eased back on those touchy issues and Egypt showing greater willingness to help with the peace effort… Mubarak had been a regular visitor to Washington during the Clinton administration. Then he stayed away to protest the U.S. invasion of Iraq and President George W. Bush's intensified pressure to open the Egyptian political system and moderate its human rights policies."