A simpler, less ambitious bill emerged as an alternative only hours after the loss of the party’s crucial 60th Senate seat forced the Democrats to slow their all-out drive to pass Obama’s signature legislation despite fierce Republican opposition. The White House is still hoping the House can pass the Senate bill in a quick strike, but Democrats are now considering other options…

One potential Republican convert for health care legislation remained an enigma. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, who has been in regular contact with Obama, roundly criticized the Democrats’ hard push to pass their bill. But she would not rule out voting for something in the end.

Asked if the Democratic bills are dead, Snowe responded: “I never say anything is dead, but clearly I think they have to revisit the entire issue.”