9749/1247612405-callcantwell.jpgConcerned 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.

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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.


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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.

Photo by Kelly O

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