According to a source familiar with the meeting, the President asked Murphy what he needed in the bill in order to support it. Murphy is being closely watched right now because he voted No last time, and flipping him to Yes would be a key get for Dem vote-counters.
“It was, `What are you looking for in the bill?’” the source says, describing the President’s request. “Scott was pressing him on the need for cost control. Medicare fraud came up. Scott said we need to step up — what we did in the House last time was not enough.”
That could have been you, Congressional Progressive Caucus. If a significant block of you had held firm on your promise to withhold support from any health care reform bill without a public option, Obama would be calling you in to ask what you needed in the bill in order to support it. You could have answered with two words, “public option.”
If President Obama and other members of Congress actually thought the Progressive Caucus was honest and stuck to its promises, they would have moved heaven and earth to figure out a way to add a public option to the reconciliation bill. Of course, adding a public option shouldn't be that hard--a public option already passed the House and, by most assessments, would garner the necessary simple majority in the Senate.
Let this be a lesson in using your power as a legislator, the next time you wonder whether to vote yes or no to get what you demand. If the president really needs your vote, he will often find a way to get you what you are asking for in exchange.