LANDRIEU AND READING COMPREHENSION…. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) of Louisiana went further than nearly any other Senate Democrat this week, stating without equivocation that she is “not open to a public option” as part of health care reform. She added, “Public option is not something that I support. I don’t think it’s the right way to go.”

While that was obviously disappointing, Landrieu’s conservative position was also something of a surprise, given that she’d previously said the opposite. Specifically, Landrieu wrote, “[Health Care for America Now] principles embody an approach that actually delivers a solution of guaranteed quality, affordable health care for all in America. Under this approach, everyone gets a choice of health insurance plans, including the right to keep your current insurance, choose another private plan or to join a public health insurance plan.”

She added, “Again, I support the HCAN Statement of Common Purpose, and I oppose the ‘on your own’ approaches to health care reform that go against these principles.” The HCAN Statement of Common Purpose that Landrieu explicitly endorsed calls for “a choice of a private insurance plan, including keeping the insurance you have if you like it, or a public insurance plan without a private insurer middleman that guarantees affordable coverage.”

So, what happened? It’s a funny story.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) signed a letter in November affirming support for a public insurance option, but her spokesman said Thursday that she didn’t “necessarily look at it word for word.”

The senator skimmed the letter to Health Care for America Now during a November campaign event, agreed with most of the principles, and signed it, Landrieu spokesman Aaron Saunders said.

So, a 12-year veterans of the U.S. Senate endorsed a specific policy agenda, about the biggest domestic policy debate of the year, without reading it?

What’s more, while Landrieu referenced the senator endorsing a public option in November, a Huffington Post item also noted that Landrieu sent a signed letter to HCAN, dated April 11.

Also yesterday, Landrieu’s spokesperson said the senator’s opposition to a public plan is limited to Ted Kennedy’s Medicare-like public option, not the other public plan possibilities.

In summary, Landrieu supports a public option, opposes a public option, and rejects one possible public option, but not necessarily the others. Good to know.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.