This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," December, 10 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: So, is Joe a no? While Harry Reid is reportedly crafting a deal behind closed doors on health care, is this senator in or out?
With us now, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, of course former vice presidential candidate for these United States.
Senator, always good having you. Which way you going to go on this?
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: Good to be here.
Well, the direct answer is, hat Joe doesn`t know, because Joe doesn`t know what — nor do most other members of the Democratic Caucus — know what is in the compromise proposals that came out of the group of 10 senators that Senator Reid sent to the Congressional Budget Office.
The good news for me, who felt that the government-created, government-run public insurance option, so-called, was a bad idea, unnecessary, add to the debt, add to taxpayer costs, seems to be going, going, maybe not quite gone, but certainly fading.
What has happened now is that some of the people in the Democratic Caucus who were advocating for the public option seemed to acknowledge that it is on its way out and are trying to get a few other things, I would say unrelated, in return. But the...
CAVUTO: But how do you know — how do you know, Senator, they just didn`t put lipstick on a pig? It`s still a pig, right? It`s still a public option.
LIEBERMAN: Well, yes.
CAVUTO: Many might argue that an expanded Medicare roll, or offering it to folks as young as 55, is public option by another name.
LIEBERMAN: Well, I`m concerned. It is not a new government-run insurance company, it`s expansion. Of course, I`m speaking speculatively, because nobody can see the proposal for four days or five days.
But it sounds like it is certainly adding costs to Medicare, which is already in jeopardy, and — and the experts tell us is going to go bankrupt in about eight years. In adding more people, it`s also going to probably increase the cost of the premium.
CAVUTO: All right. So, now, Senator, with all due respect — and I love you dearly — we have been promoting the drama to your appearance, in a typical FOX Alert way.
LIEBERMAN: Yes, love you.
CAVUTO: Like I was saying, we`re 120 seconds away. This was 120 seconds before your appearance. LIEBERMAN: Yes. Yes.
CAVUTO: You were going to make a dramatic announcement, akin to getting off the fence.
LIEBERMAN: Yes, I wish I could.
(CROSSTALK) CAVUTO: And now, I`m now going to have to alert this with a FOX News non-alert. This is not an alert.
LIEBERMAN: No. Well, here`s what I have said all along. I wouldn`t vote for cloture...
LIEBERMAN: ... which is to say to let the bill come off the floor if there was a public option, government-run insurance company in it, et cetera, et cetera.
CAVUTO: Right. Well, that`s out now. That`s out by this definition.
CAVUTO: So, that — that — it sounds like you would be for it.
LIEBERMAN: That seems to be out.
But I don`t know where I am, because all I have heard is a general description. We actually had a caucus of Democrats yesterday evening, and Senator Reid said — apologizing, said, this is most unusual. We think we have come to an agreement, but we can`t tell you the details until we get a Budget Office...
CAVUTO: OK. So, I`m going to try this another way.
LIEBERMAN: Go ahead.
CAVUTO: One to 10, one being you hate the heck out of it, 10 being you love it, Joe Lieberman, crucial vote in the United States Senate, where are you between one and 10?
LIEBERMAN: Well, I will tell you, maybe I`m at a five, which is to say I`m undecided, because, just, there`s a lot...
CAVUTO: Oh. That`s not what we wanted to hear.
LIEBERMAN: I know. I will come back when I decide. But here`s my point.
CAVUTO: What was the announcement, then, you were going to make here? That?
LIEBERMAN: I don`t know. I was just going to answer your questions, Neil.
The announcement, really, is that I don`t know how anybody can decide until you see the actual language of these compromise proposals. And, on the Medicare buy-in, I have increasing concerns, as I think a lot of other colleagues in the Democratic Caucus, including some of those who were not concerned about the public option.
LIEBERMAN: And their concern is the impact a Medicare buy-in would have on cost shifting. It would shift costs to private insurance premium- payers, 180 million in our country, and it would probably put hospitals and other people...
CAVUTO: See, that would put you in — OK. That would put you in the fork here there, because that`s a little more...
CAVUTO: So, let me ask you about this, finally.
CAVUTO: Harry Reid, who has said we will work every weekend to push this if we have to, has ruled out this weekend.
CAVUTO: And we found out that he has some fund-raising to do.
What do you make of that?
LIEBERMAN: Well, actually, he spoke to us at lunch today. But we were actually considering the today at lunch, which was a good break.
And he said he heard that story was out there, and he had long before postponed that fund-raiser, so — in Louisiana. You will have to talk to him about it. But I think we`re going to be here this weekend.
CAVUTO: You do?
LIEBERMAN: And — yes.
CAVUTO: Well, that — you know what? That is a FOX News Alert.
Guys, can we alert that? That is a FOX News Alert. There you go. You came through. You came through.
CAVUTO: Oh, there we go. They`re going to be working this weekend.
LIEBERMAN: Neil, I love you. I always try to give you some alert, yes.
CAVUTO: Well, you buried the lead, Senator. You guys are going to be working this weekend.
LIEBERMAN: Yes, I`m sorry.
CAVUTO: Harry Reid, in fact, has postponed the aforementioned political event. That`s the news.
LIEBERMAN: That`s what I heard. It was kind of — for me and you, it was sort of a bait and switch.
CAVUTO: Yes, it was.
LIEBERMAN: I didn`t give you — yes, but I gave you something.
So — but, as far as you know, when you talk about, in all seriousness, working this weekend, that is to hammer out something on health care quickly?
LIEBERMAN: Yes. Well, that would be the logical answer, right?
And there will be...
CAVUTO: Well, I don`t know, because you`ve been very dicey with these answers, Senator.
LIEBERMAN: No, no, because — but I have got to level with you.
(CROSSTALK) LIEBERMAN: The reason we are here this weekend is about the appropriations bills and the fact...
LIEBERMAN: ... that our Republican colleagues are asking — are basically filibustering. So, we need to have two cloture votes, so we can get to them.
Also, Senator Reid had said that it will be four days or five days from yesterday before he gets an estimate back from the Congressional Budget Office. So, we are kind of at a hold right now. Now, there are other amendments that could come up, some of which are important, but on this attempt at a compromise, it ain`t over by any means.
CAVUTO: OK. LIEBERMAN: People who were in the room, the 10 — I wasn`t one of them — said that, as far as they were concerned, some of my moderate friends, all they agreed to do was send those two ideas to the Budget Office to get evaluated.
CAVUTO: All right.
LIEBERMAN: And, so, that`s not the — that`s not the end of this struggle.
CAVUTO: All right. Well, until future FOX News Alerts, Senator, always a pleasure. Thank you very much.
LIEBERMAN: All right. All right.
CAVUTO: Good seeing you again.
LIEBERMAN: It was mine. Take care. You, too.
CAVUTO: Joe Lieberman, the fine independent senator from the great state of Connecticut. All right.
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