One of Congress's strongest proponents of a public option criticized President Obama for failing to lead the way on healthcare reform.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said Obama has been sitting out the healthcare fight in August.

"We've been in a scrap through the month of August, but we really haven't had presidential leadership in the way we need it most," Weiner told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow last night.

Weiner has previously threatened that up to 100 Democrats would vote against legislation that doesn't include a so-called public option.

The New York Democrat told Maddow that Obama's should use his address to Congress next week to demand a government plan.

"If he stands up on Wednesday and says to the country and my colleagues in Congress, 'We are going to have a public option in this plan because we need it, and here's why,' it's gonna get done," Weiner said. "If he doesn't, we're going to have to settle for less, and that will be a tragedy."

And in a morale boost for frustrated liberals, Weiner reminded Maddow of Obama's rhetorical powers.

"Our cleanup hitter hasn't even come to the plate," he quipped.