Obama on health bill: 'I hope it's bipartisan'

President Barack Obama said Wednesday he remains confident he will be able to sign a healthcare reform bill even as the White House continues to struggle in an increasingly convoluted message war.

In response to a reporter's question on the South Lawn following an event honoring NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, Obama said he is "absolutely confident that we are going to get a bill, and I hope it's bipartisan."

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A bipartisan bill has looked even more doubtful in recent days, with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel seeming to hint to The New York Times this week that the White House was exploring the idea of pursuing the reconciliation process, which would eliminate the need for Republican support.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs disputed that Wednesday, saying the president continued to hope for some Republican support.

With Congress out of town for its August recess, the White House's push for healthcare reform has become even more embattled.

This week, Gibbs and the administration have found themselves on the defensive after weekend statements by senior administration officials were widely construed as trial balloons for dropping the public health insurance option.

Gibbs has said repeatedly that there has been no change in administration policy and any suggestion that there has been is a result of media misreporting.

On Wednesday, however, Gibbs acknowledged that the White House has made some messaging missteps.

"I don't think anybody here believes we've pitched a no-hit game, or a perfect game," Gibbs said.