He's a stark raving centrist compromiser -- as these advance excerpts from tonight's not-pushing-the-public-option speech clearly show. Same as it ever was.
UPDATE: Part of my article on the speech, now up at Philly.com:
Indeed, the president took the surprising step of directly tackling some of what advocates consider misinformation that swirled this summer rather than ignoring it. He attempted to shame claims by Republican pols that his plan included what they called "death panels" for senior citizens as "laughable" if it were not so "cynical." "It is a lie, plain and simple," Obama said.
But the night offered a jarring and arguably shocking reminder of the gap that the president was seeking to bridge, when someone in the House chamber shouted "that's a lie!" when Obama said his plan didn't cover illegal immigrants amid boos from Republicans. (Blogger's note: It was Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina -- more in a minute)
When the shouting was done, the ultimate goal, it seemed, of Obama's needle-threading tonight was this: To craft and lay out a bill that would avoid a lethal filibuster and get exactly 60 Senate votes, which would include at least one Republican - and quite possibly no more.