Last night I posted how Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., joined Republicans and conservative Democrats voting down a "public option" insurance proposal in the Senate Finance Committee. But later he voted "yes" on a second proposal - which still didn't pass. I asked his office to explain that one. Carper's statement:

"While not perfect, I supported Sen. Schumer's 'level playing field public option' amendment because I believe it - or something similar to it - could help drive down insurance costs for consumers in a way that doesn't unfairly disadvantage insurance companies.

"Unlike other so-called public option proposals, Sen. Schumer's amendment seeks to ensure that any public health insurance plan remain independent, self-financed and self-sustaining. No one, not consumers nor providers, would be required to participate, and the government would not be able to negotiate prices based on Medicare rates, thereby better ensuring equal competition in the marketplace.

"Instead, the public option would compete with other insurance plans in a way that would offer greater choice, at less cost, for the consumer.

"I did not support Sen. Rockefeller's amendment largely because it would give the government an unfair advantage in the marketplace by allowing it to negotiate prices initially based on Medicare. That would stifle competition, not increase it, and the end result, I believe, would not be good for the consumer."

Even if it's good for the taxpayer. - Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., says this isn't flip-flopping or grinding too fine; he tells me Carper's working hard to get a bill passed and bring some Republicans around.  Concluded Carper, "Although Sen. Schumer's amendment failed, this will not be the last we've heard on this issue."