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.
The guys a dork and should be removed from office.
i think this is going to break this country i think this is very bad for the tax paying people and i think this is going to blow up in there faces.....
"Happy to have some time out of the limelight..."
Oh come on, Joe Lieberman, you relish it and love all the attention this gets you, and don't mind even contradicting yourself. You are so clearly bought by the insurance companies in your state; they are your and your wife's true constituents. Its clearly not the actual residents of the state who favor the Public Option and early Medicare Buy-in Option. If the Democrats didn't need your vote to get to 60, you'd be out on your corrupt ear so fast ...
You are a disgrace!
We, north of the border, are watching the Health Reform antics with wonder.. We wonder why so many are against true Health Reform which would bring your country in line with the rest of the developed world – universal health care. We, in Canada, enjoy a great system in spite of the lies you have been told. We have excellent care, paid for through various avenues (none of which costs each of us much). We use the doctors of our own choice, and have a longer life expectancy at less costs than you. It certainly appears globally that your objections to true reform are not really based on reformation, but on hatred of your President. Since we do share a common border, we only hope that your lunacy is not contagious.
If this fails because of Joe Liberman I hope his insurance drops him and he can't get medicare either. I am over 56 and I was so excited to hear there was a chance on getting health care , I have a policy which I may add is $5,000 deductible and I also by my prescriptions over seas because for imitrex for 9 pills is $211.00 here, order out of the country $135.00 for 30 , doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who I will purchase from. How may insurance company's is PORK FOR JOE
Did Liebermann change his mind because all of congress would have to go on medicare too? That would be a victory for the american people.
Please vote no. This is too important to cave in now. Please hold to your principles.
finally the man has done at least one thing to help Americans.
we are eternally grateful ole joe – I was beginning to loath the thought of you – so glad to hear you finally " maned up " and did the right thing for us instead of the insurance companies
The man is an opportunist..His political carrier will be over pretty
Lieberman , the Country nor the Senior Citizens need your unbalanced opinon nor your "bias" vote! Resign !
How nice that Joe has the power to stymie the greater good. If 1 or 2 Senators can determine what we can and can't do, we're very close to being un-governable! He deceived the Repubs, and now the Democrats. Surely, there's got to be a way to neutralize those who would hurt this country's progress. God I hope so. Please Mr. President, the hell with politics, do whatever it takes to do what we elected you to do. Thanks.
Please vote no. This is too important for you not to hold to your principles. Hold strong to your beliefs and ours.
Lieberman is the lowest of the low - sold his soul to the insurance companies, betrays his fellow citizens, doesn't care if they live or die, has ruined the greatest opportunity in decades - having himself a great big power trip right now. Lieberman: a truly ROTTEN person.
I once voted for him. Now, I despise him. He should be stripped of all chairmanships, all power and thrown back to earth. His time for power is over, and people like me, who puke at the sight of him, will work like hell to be sure he doesn't get elected to ANYTHING in future.
Leslie Parrish, Woodway, Washington
I believe Senator Lieberman is a wolf in sheep clothing, democrats are better without him, and should take chance without him may be they will get a single Republican Like Senator Snow with them.
who is joe lieberman and why does his opinon count?
that is code for 'the stack of Benjamins in my hand is not high enough'
They don't call him LIEberman for nothing.
folds like a cheap suit...maybe he got bought off with our tax money like Landreau...they remind me of a bunch of hookers....just name your price..
Joe Lieberman is a turncoat!! He was apparently promised something in exchange for his vote. That is the way Obama White House operates.
Democrats, please don't trust Joe LIEberman. He will switch the day of the vote. The guy is a joke.
If he knows how to spell yes or say yes.Unless the big guys tell him to vote no.
Lieberman and wife tied to drug companys.No wonder he doesn't want public option.He's another good example on why we need to get rid of lobyists and have term limits!
Is there no way to keep these lunatics like Lieberman out of our health care future? What does he care about regular people who have no health care options?
I think that Joe Lieberman is plain despicable, just to put it in amicable terms.
Senator Lieberman cannot make up his mind on health care reform. As long as he is in the limelight he will not do so. he has already done a 180 degree turn on medicare and medicaid. Guess the insurance lobby did not like that idea.
If the news media kept Sen. Lieberman off the front page he would have to make up his mind.