JAKE: Which is more important to the president, that the bill — the final vote of the (health care reform) bill be bipartisan or that it include a public option?
GIBBS: Well, let me go back to what I just said to Ed (Henry of CNN). The president is focused on ensuring that whatever passes, whatever reform comes to his desk have choice and competition in it…
JAKE: It's increasingly clear that there's no way they're going to be able to get a Republican vote if there's a public option. So which is more important?
GIBBS: Choice and competition.
JAKE: That's not the choice that I gave you.
GIBBS: I know it's not the choice you gave me, but I'm not playing the box game.
JAKE: It’s not a box game.
GIBBS: But it is. But it…
JAKE: Robert, it's very clear from…
JAKE: … following what's going on on Capitol Hill that you're not going to get Republican…
GIBBS: … what's going on on Capitol Hill as well as both what Americans want. They want an insurance market, if they enter the private insurance market, where they have choices and where those choices generate competition that drive down costs and increase the quality of care. That's the test for the president. And the president obviously hopes that…
JAKE: And that can be achieved without a public option?
GIBBS: We will evaluate as these two bills on the Senate side get merged and these other bills get merged to see if they meet the president's standard for doing so….
JAKE: And on Thursday, the states are expected to give some reports on the stimulus funds and how many jobs they've created. I know that you don't have the file numbers and all that, but — but are you guys — as the numbers are starting to be released, what's the feeling in the White House on the stimulus package, how it has affected job creation?
GIBBS: Well, look, I — I think if you look at the reports today, you see that literally tens of thousands of jobs in the classroom have been saved, alone, by the recovery plan. I think you'll see projects that will — will talk about both saving jobs as well as creating them. As we've talked about here the last several weeks, and really dating back to the very beginning of this, the recovery plan was intended to cushion the deep downturn in our economy. We think that the plan has done that. I think we certainly are hopeful that in the growth numbers that will be coming out later this month, you'll see positive economic growth. Again, as the president has said many times, there's still a long way to go and we need to make sure that those that are looking for work can find it.