Lieberman: Brown win would send message about healthcare

A victory for Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown in Massachusetts would send a message that voters are "really skeptical about this healthcare bill," Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Tuesday.

Lieberman ultimately voted for that legislation, after weeks of negotiations between his camp and the Democrats with whom he caucuses.

But the senator told Fox News' Neil Cavuto Tuesday afternoon that a defeat today of one of the bill's strong supporters -- Democratic candidate Martha Coakley -- would still "be a very loud message from Massachusetts."

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"Well, it's pretty clear that, if Scott Brown doesn't win, it's certainly going to be close, and that in itself is newsworthy," Lieberman said. "And I think the message is -- from the voters of Massachusetts -- that people are anxious about the future and they're unhappy about what's happening in Washington."

"They're anxious about the economy, the continued high unemployment," he continued. "They don't like all the partisanship and deal-making here in Washington. And they're really skeptical about this health care bill."

The nail-biter between Coakley and Brown in Massachusetts has pivoted greatly on the national healthcare debate. Coakley has promised to vote with her party in support of Democrats' healthcare legislation, while Brown has assured Republicans he would  serve as the GOP's "41st vote" against the bill.

A Coakley win would allow Democrats to continue addressing differences in the House and Senate's bills using their informal conference process. But a Brown victory would force the majority party to consider alternate routes to pass their legislation, including the tough and politically thorny avenue of reconciliation.

Lieberman hinted Tuesday the second outcome was likely to send shock waves that reverberated throughout the healthcare debate. His comments appeared to suggest he too was growing skeptical of the healthcare bill, which he has long criticized publicly.

The Connecticut senator also weighed in this afternoon on the growing debate that Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) might defect and join Democrats in support of their healthcare bill.

Lieberman said that was unlikely, adding he would be "shocked" if the retiring Republican "votes for health care reform anywhere near where it is now."

"I think we're at a point where there are not -- there's not a single Republican who really will vote for this bill as it is now or as it was moving to be in the conference committee," Lieberman said.

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