"That'd be great," Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), a Republican conferee told me. "Sure."
"Televised? Oh, I'm not against that being televised," said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)--the top Republican financial reform negotiator. "We televised the Senate, we televised the House."
In fact, the one senator who seemed unenthusiastic about it was a Democrat--Banking Committee chairman Chris Dodd. "I have no opposition to it," Dodd said. "We'll see how it all works out."
This ties Democrats' hands on a couple levels. First, having gone on the record in favor of conducting the conference in open session, and live on television, they'll have a hard time explaining themselves if they opt to conduct most of the meetings in private. And second, if the cameras are rolling Democrats will once again find it difficult to pare back their own legislation--including a controversial measure in the Senate bill requiring financial firms to hive their derivatives swaps desks off into separate entities. Democratic leadership and the White House want the provision gone, as do most Republicans, but thus far--and thanks to the openness of the floor debate--the politics have made that impossible. Nobody wants to answer to the public for siding with Wall Street.
Don't be surprised to see progressives pushing for an open conference--it's probably their last source of leverage to strengthen the final legislation before the President signs a final bill into law.