Obama Smacked for Telling the Washington Post: 'I Didn't Campaign on the Public Option'

ABC News’ Teddy Davis reports:

A liberal group, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (P.C.C.C.), is launching a television ad, criticizing President Obama for endorsing a Senate health care bill which includes a mandate to buy insurance but no government insurance option. The ad was produced overnight, according to the group’s co-founder, to respond “to the anger” that progressives are feeling about President Obama telling today’s Washington Post : “I didn’t campaign on the public option.”

The ad, which is starting with only $40,000 behind it, is being launched in Wisconsin, in addition to Washington, D.C., in the hopes that Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., will “be a hero and insist on a public option.”

Watch the ad HERE :

"President Obama should frankly feel ashamed that he promised Americans a public option, got people to believe real change was possible, and then never truly fought for it -- instead, pushing an insurance mandate that he specifically campaigned against. Hopefully, our ad inspires one brave senator to represent the will of the people and insist that a public option be in any final bill," said PCCC co-founder Adam Green in a written statement.

Contrary to the impression left by Obama’s Washington Post interview, a public option was a part of the health care plan that he developed during last year’s presidential campaign.

It did not, however, receive as much emphasis from Obama as other more moderate aspects of his approach.

Feingold announced on Dec. 20 that he was getting behind a watered down Senate health care bill while jabbing the Obama administration for its lack of support for a public option. As part of his announcement, Feingold promised to urge members of the House and Senate who draft the final bill to make sure that a government insurance alternative is included.

It is unlikely, however, that Feingold or other progressives will have the necessary leverage to get a public option back into the bill. This is because 60 votes are needed to get health-care legislation through the Senate without resorting to a budget reconciliation process which has not been pursued and 60 Senate votes have not materialized for the public option.

--Teddy Davis

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