Undaunted by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley's declaration that the Democratic health care agenda might empower the government to "pull the plug on grandma," President Obama still hopes to achieve a bipartisan reform bill, his spokesman said Thursday.
Press secretary Robert Gibbs chose his words carefully on Thursday when asked to respond to comments made by Grassley, who is one of three key Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee tasked with crafting compromise legislation. Despite being heavily wooed by the White House, Grassley took up the fundamentally dishonest "death panels" line of attack at a town hall meeting on Tuesday.
Gibbs suggested the Iowa Republican talk to his Republican colleague, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska who deemed the death panel rumor an offensive myth designed to "gin up fear in the American public."
But Gibbs wouldn't go any further, telling reporters during Thursday's briefing that the White House remained committed to working with Republicans to get health care reform passed.
"Obviously the president is continuing to talk to lawmakers in hope that the Finance Committee can come to some kind of agreement," said Gibbs.