It was only a few days ago that Bart Stupak, of Stupak Amendment fame, told Good Morning America that while he was in favor of health-care reform, he and eleven other Democratic congressmen were prepared to vote against the bill because, he claimed, its language did not prohibit federal funding of abortion. President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Kathleen Sebelius all maintain that it does. And abortion is not traditionally an issue in which opponents easily find common ground. But, somehow, this potentially intractable standoff suddenly got a lot less bleak yesterday.
Stupak, talking to reporters in Michigan, sounded more optimistic than he was a week ago. "I'm more optimistic than I was a week ago," Stupak said. (See?) "The president says he doesn't want to expand or restrict current law. Neither do I." And when George Stephanopoulos asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs if Obama was willing to negotiate new language on abortion, Gibbs said he had "no doubt we can come to a solution." And if they can't, the White House could always force Stupak to joke about banging his young male staffer, as they did health-care opponent Eric Massa.