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.
I was flipping throught the talking head channels today. Nearly everyone had a democratic operative on talking about Lieberman. They all had the same conclusion granted with different numbers of Senators. Each said Lieberman is the front man protecting anywhere from 4 – 12 democratic senators who are opposed to a public option.
He just doesn't have to worry about pissing off the DNC.
Forget that goon.
Joe Lieberman (R)- Israel
He is the devil itself. He was the Republicans right hand man to try to destory this bill. I still don't believe he will vote for any bill becasue he is really a true REPUBLICANS!
BRING IT ONW MR. TURN COAT! YOU WILL BE TOO OLD AND TOO HATED BY 2012. Lieberman/Sara same ticket as 2008 which will result into other lose for the Republicans.
This Calf going to milk this bill dry before sign on to it! Connecticut hope you do not have a short memory next time.
We are glad Joe is voting against public option, but just wondering what they are reforming.
For anyone to believe Joe Lieberman is anything but a die hard republican they would have to be totally brain dead!!!!!! And he doesn't even have the guts to come out of the right wing closet, for crying out loud!!!!!
Palpatine: Endless spending for eternal war in the middle east, deficit-hawk when it comes to spending American tax dollars on Americans.
Democrats, Palpatine will jerk you around for as long as you let it happen. It's like trying to nail down jello– you will never succeed. In the end, he will stiff you, because he can.
Does anyone trust this guy? He seems to be as sneaky as anyone I have seen. Is he even the same guy that ran with Al Gore? Maybe he is 7th cousins 3X removed from Benedict Arnold. I hope the Democrats remove him from any involvement with them. Let him go on a book tour with Palin.
Lieberman is a poster child for the "me first" group.
A man who feeds at the public trough worth millions with a government run health plan taking care of his every need who says it is not right for you and me... I only regret that I cannot vote against him.
It doesn't matter what the bill has in it (or doesn't have in it), Lieberman will find some "reason" to filibuster.
Frankly, the key component is the insurance company ratio. If the ratio is at 85% to 90% then a Public Option or early medicare buy-in is not necessary. Insurance companies, in effect, will be capped in their profits. That's all we really need.
If Lieberman had any sense, he would just say that.....Of course, that's hard to do when the insurance company is your daddy.
Lieberman was "for" the Medicare buy-in before he was against it.
Flip flopper, you will fit right in with the cons.
Kick him out of the caucus and do that 50 vote thingy what ever its called. Republicans had not problem doing it, and its about time the Democrats show some backbone or end up getting crushed in the next election. Don't be surprised if they give him everything he wants and then decides to vote against it anyway.
Good. Let's pass this thing, so it can move on to the next step.
Don't kill it. Please don't kill it.
Joe needs to leave!!!!!
This man is disgrace by itself, he works for Isreal instead of us, i do not see any mercy on his face, this one man will stop all this good for so many millions, im sorry to say this , i see him like a Saddam or other evil, just how many will die over the years due to this decision.
LieberLoser is nothing more than a complete ass. He wouldn't know what was right if it stood in front of him. His only goal is to get even for losing as a Dem in 2006 and give the Dems now a hard way to go. He is not an independent; he is a Republican and he should join them.
Apparently the strong arm tactic's by Joe Lieberman serve to remove him from re-election.
I can't imagine any Senior Citizens in his district voting for that fraud again and very few if any democratic voters would want this embarrassing Senator in a position to stick it to his democratic colleges ever again.
Get rid of Senator Joe Lieberman, vote against him for re-election!
Thanks a lot, Joe! I want to retrire at age 60 and health inbsurance for me was quoted as being between $1700 t0 $2700/ month depending on freedom to choose my own doctors. if I pick freedom I get $2700 per month with a $2000 deductible. I would rather pay $700 per month to buy into Medicare! What's your issue, Joe? You sure arn't concerned about the common person!
If Lieberman votes "YES" for the Democratic Health Care Bill it will be a vote to get the investigation of his wife squashed. Like any "GOOD" senator hi vote is for sale for a favor.
Liberman is a lying snake.
Being an independent has its advantages, you can flip/flop when it is to your political advantage. Aren't politics grand!?!?!?!?!
Mr. Lieberman is clearly a tool of the insurance industry, which would lose a large number of customers by allowing them to buy into medicare at 55. He changed his position and will change parties to keep his position. He has no principle or core values other then self preservation and to line his pockets. He should be embarassed but hes not
So, in other words, Joe will vote for it only if it helps his donors, the insurance and pharmaceutical industry, and does nothing to help poor and middle class individuals. Well, at least it's perfectly clear where his loyalties lie. Thanx for nothing, Joe. They must be paying you pretty well if you can sleep at night. Have a nice day!
Senator Aetna is at it again. Remember, Hartford is the US Insurance Capital–and Joe is a persistent defender of the interests of its for-profit companies. I was a college classmate of his (also, alas, of John Ashcroft), and Joe used to be an honorable person. How times have changed!! I can't wait for the Dems to add enough to their Senate total (are you hearing this, Susan Collins?) that they can kick him to the curb.