Howard Dean on Morning Joe this morning:
"The president knows very well that you aren't really going to have health care reform without a public option. But he also knows he has to get this out of the Senate," Dean said on "Morning Joe." "He's got a very important member of the Finance Committee, Kent Conrad, who doesn't want to vote for this bill if it's got a public option in it. And he knows he's not going to get any Republican votes, of any kind. So at the end of this day, this bill is going to be written by Democrats. It's got to get out of the Senate. And you only need a few Democrats to take out the public option."
He added that with Republicans unlikely to support any version of health care legislation, he had no doubt that the final reform bill would be passed with the help of reconciliation, which means Democrats need only to muster 50 votes in the Senate rather than the usual 60.
Dean told RCP earlier this year that a health care reform bill without a strong public option was pointless. "If it doesn't, all we have is the same old stuff, and I don't think it's worth spending $634 billion on what we've already got," he said.