Washington (CNN) – Sen. Joe Lieberman told CNN Tuesday he is "moving in the direction of" voting for the Democratic health care bill, if the provisions allowing for early Medicare buy-in and a new public health insurance option are removed. And the Connecticut independent senator dismissed liberal criticism that he is acting out of bitterness over his loss in the Democratic Senate primary in 2006.
"Well that's just poppycock," he told CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash. "….If I had any sense of vendetta against the Democratic Party I wouldn't be in the Democratic caucus today. I'm an independent Democrat."
His position was based on policy, not politics, he said.
Lieberman also said that even though the prospect was unlikely, he could not rule out running as a Republican in 2012: "All options are open," he told CNN.
Lieberman also denied that he was making demands because he enjoys the spotlight, pointing to a campaign launched earlier this week by progressive activists to convince the nation's largest breast cancer non-profit organization to dump his wife Hadassah Lieberman as an honorary spokeswoman. "I can tell you that inside myself I have not enjoyed this period of time. I've done what I thought was right, but it's no fun to have your colleagues be angry at you. It's no fun to have your wife attacked. But, you know, you got to do what you think is right.
"So, no. I'd be happy to have some time out of (the) limelight."
Lieberman said he had not yet decided whether to vote for health care reform. "Here's what I'd say. I've always wanted to be able to say yes to health care reform. But there were some parts of this bill, public option, Medicare buy-in that I thought would essentially lead to a government takeover of health care in America, which I'm against, because I think it would reduce quality and increase prices and certainly raise the debt, and taxes."
Lieberman said that if the public option and Medicare buy-in are taken out – and following a review of the actual language and a cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office – he would then "be in a position to do what I've wanted to do, which is to say yes to health care reform.
"I'm moving very much in the direction of saying yes, pending just seeing what I've been told is happening with the bill."
After Lieberman joined Senate Democrats at a meeting Tuesday with President Barack Obama, the president said Congress was "on the precipice" of passing a sweeping health care reform bill.
"There are some differences that still have to be worked on… (but) there is broad consensus around (a set of) reforms," he said.
Unanimous Republican opposition to health care legislation so far means Senate Democrats need the backing of all 60 members of their caucus – including Lieberman - to end debate on the bill and move to a final vote, which will be decided by a simple majority.
He is afraid a buy in, public option etc will increase prices? Where has he been the last 20 years, healthcare cost are through the roof – oh that is right is on the government halthcare system – no problem.
Reduce quality? What a joke. Every country with universal coverage has a lower infant mortality number and all live longer than our folks. How about the 40 thousand or so that die each year that don't have health care – what about them?
Shame on America for allowing the rich insuance companies to own our healthcare and our leaders.
And your bid for my support is???
Lieberman's real reason: Lieberman -> Hartford -> Insurance capitol of the USA
HE IS A SNAKE!
Why should anybody believe "Joe the Jerk" this time? The Jerk said he would vote "Yes" if Public Option was removed, but he reneged on that. Then said he would support Medicare buy-in and now he flip-flopped on that. PLEASE LET THE DEMOCRATS BOOT THIS MAN FROM ALL PARTY CHAIRMANSHIPS!
He is not one man holding health care reform hostage. He is one of 41. More importantly, they represent the majority of Americans. The people have spoken, and most of us want this bill killed. It's time the elected officials vote the way of their constituents.
Lieberman is just another egotistical, lying politician, and he should go back to where ever he came from and live high on the hog with all the money he has recieved from the health insurance industry. There is a very true axiom about politics, if you vote for the Democrats you will support the sorriest folks in the country and if you vote for the Republicans you will support the very wealthy and their lifestyle, Lieberman is doing the same thing Strom Thurmond did for fifty years. Thurmond was a Democrat, Dixiecrat, and a Republican. He belonged to the KKK while fathering an out of wedlock baby by a black girl. I wonder why anyone turns out to vote for all of the idiots in Washington D.C.
Another drone of the health insurance lobbyists
Why does Harry Reid and the powers that be in the Democrat caucus keep kissing Lieberman's rear end? If he cannot guarantee to support the Democrat agenda, why is he holding a chairmanship in the Senate? The dumb Democrats in the house and senate always find a way to lose the support of the folks that voted them in power.
Who cares what that turn-coat does? Go with 51 votes and kick him to the curb.
Now I completely understand, the senator is the mouthpiece of the insurance industry. Senator Lieberman, you are a disappointment to the democratic party and our great country. Shame on you...
The Republicans do not have to spend much to get elected, all they have to do is give the Democrats a very short rope
If the current bunch of idiots in congress does not make folks support term limits for all elected politicians in this country there is no way this country can survive another decade of the status quo. I would say six years for the senate and two years for the house would be a good start. The years since the 80's through the current time will go down in history as the dumbest times in U.S. history
Pkm joe will only vote if he thinks he will help the rich joe might start his own party and call it the wig party