Concerned about Sen. Maria Cantwell's support for the co-op compromise, and worried about her lack of clear enthusiasm for the public option, the president of the Washington State Labor Council yesterday sent Cantwell a three-page letter (.pdf) explaining why co-ops are not a true public option—and why, in any case, they're not the mechanism for delivering real health care reform.
I'm still trying to confirm this next part with Cantwell's office and the Labor Council—so take it for what it's worth until that happens—but a source tells me that today the Senator herself called the Labor Council President, Rick Bender, in response to his letter and told him she has dropped her support for co-ops and is now unambiguously behind the public option.
The source also forwarded me an e-mail that he said was from Jeff Johnson, Bender's special assistant. It appears to describe today's conversation between Cantwell and Bender:
From: Jeff Johnson Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 1:28 PM To: [Multiple recipients] Subject: RE: Letter from Rick Bender regarding recent meeting with Senator Cantwell
FYI - Maria called this morning. She very much appreciated the letter and said that it would be helpful. She also said that she is off the co-op idea and will support a real public option.
Congratulations to us all.
Given all the slippery language games that have been played so far by Cantwell, I'll believe it when I hear it from her office. But this does seem like a potentially big reversal.