Jay Rockefeller says it's up to Harry Reid to decide whether or not a public option is included in the health care bill that reaches the Senate floor, but he has a warning for the majority leader: stripping the public option simply to win Olympia Snowe's vote will cause Democrats "to lose our leadership and our momentum."
As Rockefeller says, Reid's obligation isn't to Olympia Snowe -- it's to the whole Democratic caucus, and, by extension, the people that put them in office.
ROCKEFELLER: Harry Reid can put into that mark whatever he wants, and so if he puts in mine - less likely - or Schumer’s - more likely - if he decides to do that, then it’ll take 60 votes to take it out because it will be in the mark and that’s the genius of that melding of the two things.
HUNT: You think he’ll put that Chuck Schumer mark in?
ROCKEFELLER: I think it’s more likely that he would, yeah.
HUNT: Well, the most coveted woman in the world is Olympia Snowe, was on the committee and will still be on the floor and, you know, mightn’t Senator Reid have to put her proposal in there? Or let her offer that proposal?
ROCKEFELLER: If we calculate so finely, and so exquisitely, we’re going to lose our leadership and our momentum. And right now, yes, we did get her vote, she said just for this one, it doesn’t mean for the next one - round of votes. But we can’t sort of hedge and say, ‘What’s Olympia going to do?’ we’ve got to decide what we want. And now you’re on the whole floor, with all Democrats participating, or your close to that point, and Harry has to speak for the whole caucus.
Rockefeller offered his comments in an interview with Bloomberg TV's Al Hunt, set to be broadcast this weekend.