From NBC's Ken Strickland
At a news conference to promote her health-care amendment that would restrict executive compensation for some insurance companies, Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) spent most of her time fielding questions about the public option.
Lincoln is one of the key centrist Democrats who has said she'd block final passage of the Senate bill if it includes the government-run insurance program as currently written. "I've been very clear," she said right off the bat. "I don't support a public option that is government funded or government run, and that puts the taxpayers at risk in the long run."
But that didn't stop the questions from flying towards the podium: Has she seen a compromise proposals she'd support? Not yet.
Has she met with Sen. Tom Carper (D) about his compromise alternative? She's met with "everyone."
Does she like Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe's (R) idea for a trigger? "It depends on what it triggers."
"I'm looking at everything," she said after the fifth public option question. "And I'll reassure you that I am going to look at everything and I'm going to judge it based on ... whether or not there is long term risk to the taxpayers and whether it's government funded and government run. I'm willing to talk to everybody."
She was explicit in expressing her concern that if a government insurance program failed, taxpayer funds would be used to prop it back up.
"I have the fear that it will create a long-term risk for taxpayers. And I think that comes on the heels of this orgy we've had of government spending -- whether it's bailouts for multiple people, multiple groups. I think it's critical for us to look at how fiscally responsible we can be on behalf of taxpayers."