Lieberman Tells Democrats He Understands How Hard He’s Made Health Care Reform

ZUMA Press/Newscom

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told colleagues in a closed-door Democrats caucus meeting today he “regrets” that his positions on the health care reform bill has made the process a tough one for his former colleagues in the Democratic party. But Lieberman emphasized he did not say he was sorry for what he’s done.

From The Hill:

“I just said I know it’s been difficult for people and I regretted it, it’s been difficult for all of us, I said,” Lieberman said.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) gave TPMDC a similar account of the Lieberman’s statement in the meeting:

“One thing that he acknowledged, which was important, was how difficult this has been for people on both sides of it,” Casey said of Lieberman. “I was struck by how human that moment was–it wasn’t a debate about, well this is what I believe, on one element of a public option compromise.”

“It wasn’t even about policy,” Casey added. “It was more about, two things, one more about acknowledging the conflict, and trying to understand how other people feel, and, secondly, the stakes that are involved here in this bill.”

President Obama was at the caucus meeting. Afterwards, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said he would let Lieberman characterize the moment, but he confirmed that Lieberman rose to address the caucus his health care positioning has often thrown into chaos over the past several months.

“Senator Lieberman spoke about what he saw was positive in the bill, the concerns that he had,” Gibbs said. “I will let Sen Lieberman tell you how he concluded. The president didn’t address him directly. Sen. Lieberman made a statement to the caucus on where he was on the legislation.”

Lieberman may not think he said “sorry,” but The Hill reports others in the room with him felt like he did:

One senior Democrat in the meeting took Lieberman’s comments as an apology although Lieberman did not actually say “sorry.”

Reporting for this story by Brian Beutler and Christina Bellantoni.