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Obama Softens on Public Option

Between high casualties in Afghanistan, dips in his popularity, angry town-hall meetings, and the death of friend Ted Kennedy, it was a brutal August for Obama. So he's hatched a new strategy to help himself and Democrats recover—particularly on health care. Politico reports that Obama may detail his health-care demands in—another—major speech as soon as next week. And although House leaders say their members are hell-bent on a public insurance option, Obama has no plans to insist on one, a position sure to anger his liberal base, but one that could demonstrate Obama's willingness to get a bill at any cost. Evidently, top officials also see the public's diminished expectations about the Obama White House as an opportunity to prove it has backbone; in addition to health care, Obama wants to show progress in Afghanistan and use this month's anniversary of the Lehman Brothers crash to regulate Wall Street more heavily.