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Obama agenda: Public option debate

The Washington Post profiles Howard Dean's role in the health-care debate. "'This vote is not about Democrats versus Republicans and conservatives and liberals and all that stuff,' Dean said, his voice growing louder and his cadence faster. 'This is about whether you're going to vote for the people who donated to your campaigns -- the health insurance industry -- or you're going to vote for the people who pay your salary. And we're going to be watching, because there are going to be 535 people casting that vote.'"

More: "'What Howard is doing is principled but destructive,' said a Democratic strategist and former Dean adviser who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the intraparty debate. 'If health-care reform goes down because of the public option, it's going to be the liberals that bring it down, the Democrats doing it to themselves."

Joe Klein writes in Time, "This year, the liberal insistence on a marginally relevant public option has been a tactical mistake that has enabled the right's 'government takeover' disinformation jihad… To be sure, there are honorable conservatives, trying to do the right thing... There are conservatives...who make their arguments based on facts. But they have been overwhelmed by nihilists and hypocrites more interested in destroying the opposition and gaining power than in the public weal… There is no Republican health-care alternative in 2009… Some righteous anger seems called for, but that's not Obama's style. He will have to come up with something, though—and he will have to do it without the tiniest scintilla of help from the Republican Party."

The AP's Babington: "Publicly, President Barack Obama is still calling for a bipartisan bill to overhaul the nation's health care system. Privately, Democrats are preparing a one-party push, which they feel is all but inevitable."

The New York Daily News: "Some top White House aides are pressing President Obama to drop the gloves and rely on Democratic majorities in the House and Senate to win the health care reform fight."

Despite those splashy reports, The Hill writes, "Senate Democratic leaders and negotiators have recommitted themselves to a bipartisan healthcare deal, despite an August recess characterized by partisan sniping that prompted senior White House officials to consider a go-it-alone approach. The renewed calls for patience and bipartisan talks have saved, at least temporarily, the healthcare debate from devolving into full-blown partisan chaos.

The Boston Globe: "As the Obamas prepare to alight in Martha's Vineyard this weekend, the getaway comes with a painful political truth: As goes the economy, so goes the first presidential vacation. Unlike his predecessor, who spent a month at his Texas ranch, President Obama is treating himself to just one week's respite… Clinton took a 17-day vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyo., in 1995, and went six times to Martha's Vineyard, spending up to three weeks at a time in the bucolic spot. Both Presidents Bush enjoyed long vacations: George H. W. routinely spent the month of August at his family estate in Kennebunkport, Maine, while his son, George W., spent the hot summer month on his ranch."

More details on the trip: "The White House has not released details of the Obamas' plans, but locals say the first family has rented the Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark, a 28-acre estate owned by William and Mollie Van Devender, both donors to Republicans. The property includes a swimming pool, access to a private beach, even a place to whack golf balls… Similar properties on the island rent for $35,000 to $50,000 a week. The Obamas are paying their family vacation tab themselves, administration officials said."

The AP: "Vice President Joe Biden plans to announce Thursday nearly $1.2 billion in grants to help hospitals transition to electronic medical records."

And per a Treasury official, Secretary Geithner travels today to Ohio, where he'll meet with local CEOs from the Greater Cleveland Partnership before joining Governor Ted Strickland in the suburb of Berea to discuss how a $22 billion national school bonds program under the Recovery Act is being put to use building and improving public schools.