Obama on the public option: ‘I absolutely do not believe that it’s dead.’

Public Option In recent weeks, lawmakers opposed to passing a public option have been insisting that it is “dead” and Democratic leaders need to move forward without it. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) has said that the “public doesn’t support it,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has suggested that we “throw it in the garbage can,” and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) has said that Obama “should take it off the table.” But today in an interview with Univision’s Al Punto — the first time a U.S. president has appeared on the show — Obama said that such declarations are premature:

“I absolutely do not believe that it’s dead,” Obama told Univision. “I think that it’s something that we can still include as part of a comprehensive reform effort.”

That defense may mark one of the most significant reactions Obama has had to date to the health bill unveiled by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) this week, which eschews the public option in favor of nonprofit healthcare cooperatives.

When asked whether Republican votes are essential to passing a bill, Obama replied, “You know, I’d love to get Republican votes, but I don’t count on them. … I think, that the opposition has made a decision. They are just not going to support anything, for political reasons.” (HT: Political Carnival)