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From Sen. Tom Harkin, Ted Kennedy’s replacement as chairman of the HELP committee, to a crowd cheering about healthcare reform at his annual steak fry:

You might as well stay standing because that strong health reform bill — mark my word, I’m the chairman, it’s gonna have a STRONG PUBLIC OPTION!

Those are stirring words.  I don’t really believe them, unfortunately, since being HELP chairman doesn’t exactly make Harkin emperor of the Senate.  But even if it’s just steak fry talk, it’s nice to hear.

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FACT:

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