Nelson: ‘I Don’t Know’ If I Could Support A Health Care Bill Without Snowe

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Speaking to reporters moments ago, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) addressed yesterday’s vote in the Senate Finance Committee with words of support for Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME)–the only Republican who agreed to vote Sen. Max Baucus’ health care bill out of committee. Nelson described it as a “courageous vote on her part to speak her mind when she thinks it’s best to move the process forward.”

There’s been a flood of speculation in the past 24 hours about the possibility that Snowe’s vote might now become the glue that keeps conservative Democrats on board with the reform process. I asked Nelson whether he could imagine voting for a bill that does not have Snowe’s support. Nelson didn’t answer one way or another–but without saying yes or no, Nelson indicated that her final position will weigh heavily on members like him.

“I don’t know. That’s a good question. I have to see everything before I can really say what I would do.”Last night, Nelson and Snowe shared spot. No. 22 on GQ Magazine’s “Most Powerful People” in Washington list. TPMDC caught up with Nelson, who said now the “spotlight” was off his friend Snowe, he knows where it has landed.

“I know who it’s going to be on next,” he said.

“I will be a team player,” Nelson told TPMDC, with one condition: Democrats must be careful not to tack too far to the left when the health care bill reaches the floor.

Additional reporting by Christina Bellantoni

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