Early this afternoon, Politico reported that the White House is pressuring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to “cut a deal” with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) that would involve dropping any public option or Medicare buy-in from the bill in order to win the obstructionist senator’s support. Soon after Politico’s story came out, White House senior communications adviser told Greg Sargent, “The report is inaccurate. The White House is not pushing Senator Reid in any direction.” In today’s press briefing, Robert Gibbs said Obama has not called Reid and that the President is simply “anxious to see progress”:
REPORTER: Has the President picked up the phone and called Joe Lieberman about health care reform?
GIBBS: Not that I’m aware of, no.
REPORTER: Is the report true that’s published on Politico that the White House is encouraging Senator Reid to sit down and make a deal with Lieberman and give up on the Medicare expansion?
GIBBS: I can only say this, Anna, that the President is anxious to see progress. And we’ll continue to work with, uh, Democrats and Republicans, and independents, and everyone in between to make that progress and take those steps.
REPORTER: Is this a serious problem with Senator Lieberman? Will the President get involved?
GIBBS: The President’s involved. We wouldn’t be sitting here the 14th of December. We’d much rather be Christmas shopping … The President’s been involved the whole time.