December 18th, 2009
04:33 PM ET
6 months ago

Franken takes on Lieberman as tensions builds in Senate

Washington (CNN) - Tensions stemming from the prolonged debate on health care flared Thursday afternoon when Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who was the presiding officer, refused to let Sen. Joe Lieberman finish his speech on the senate floor.

Lieberman, the bane of the Democratic Party's liberal base because of his opposition to creating a public option and expanding Medicare, was speaking about preserving the Medicare trust fund.

After his allotted ten minutes, Lieberman - an independent from Connecticut who sits with the Democratic caucus - asked for more time to finish his speech, a request customarily granted in the venerable chamber.

"In my capacity as the senator from Minnesota, I object," replied
Franken.

"Really?" Lieberman asked, seeming surprised by the rejection. "Okay," he continued with a chuckle, "I don't take it personally."

Immediately following the exchange, Lieberman's closest Republican ally, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, came to his defense.

"I must say that I don't know what's happening here in this body, but I think its wrong," said McCain. "I have been around here for 20-some years. [This is] the first time I have ever seen a member denied an extra minute or
two to finish his remarks."

A spokesperson for Franken explained that Lieberman was told to stop peaking because Senate leaders were enforcing the strict time limits so they could finish a defense spending bill and get to the health bill.

Majority Leader Harry Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley, said, "We did that to maintain order and [so] that no senator had an unfair advantage over another in terms of speaking. It was a simple request of the leader and Sen. Franken was adhering to the request of his leadership."

Later in the evening it appeared that Lieberman and Franken had made amends, as they could be seen talking, laughing and even hugging on the Senate floor.


Filed under: Al Franken • Joe Lieberman • Popular Posts
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Al Franken is such a joke.

    December 18, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. Chile

    Leiberman makes me angry right now, but that was still kinda rude

    December 18, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. Ras-Diputin

    Go Al !!!!!!!!!
    You have no idea how I despise this total clown Liberman.
    In fact he's right up there with Pelosi & Reid...the other dog & pony show.

    December 18, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. Alan J

    It's about time someone with a backbone stands up and tells Joe to shut up and sit down!

    December 18, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. Jimbo

    OMG Fraken is such an idiot! Just look at him on the video. What an embarassment.

    December 18, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. Chip

    Franken was simply following the rules. Lieberman has done enough damage already...we don't need to hear any more from him.

    December 18, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. Larry

    hooray for franken!!

    December 18, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. Anon

    Lieberman is a scumbag traitor and SHOULD be cutoff - at the neck. Go Franken, the most honest congressman of the bunch!

    December 18, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. dude palin

    I would strip him of everything in congress ! Guys like him are why we need term limits.........................

    December 18, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. Ken

    Good for Franken. Maybe it IS a club there in the Senate, and they have these venerable traditions. Perhaps it's time to shake that up and change the way they do business. It's a governning body, and not a boys club.

    December 18, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Ken H.

    Franken"stein" is a liberal buffon and the people of minnesota that voted for this idiot are just as stupid as Franken. This is why our nation is so messed up.

    December 18, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. John

    It's a shame we have people like Joe Lieberman as one of our so-called representatives. Joe, like a alot of our other so-called Senators, is in the pocket of the Health Insurance Lobby. We need to show Joe Lieberman the door to retirement.

    John Reith Jr.
    Albany, NY.

    December 18, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  13. benn

    al franken is a joke! this is not SNL, it's the senate.

    December 18, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. kgeukes Michigan

    It's time for the people in the Senate to realize that the voters are tired of their stall tactics and that if a health care plan similar to Medicare does NOT pass...they WILL be replaced. Our votes make the difference and our voices WILL be heard...play around with our health and LOSE your job!!!!!!!

    December 18, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. kathy

    Of course Old Man McCain had to come to his defense....ne doesn't understand rules either. Hooray to Franken!!!!

    December 18, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. kevin mcclellan

    Its good to see some one get in the middle of "Let em die Joe"

    December 18, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. oger

    ladies and gentelman the next president of the united states...Al Franken! You go Al!

    December 18, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  18. Wayne

    The old man should hurry up and speak his mind, and get the hell off the stage.

    December 18, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. Robert H.McCabe

    This just shows that the status quo of old , "good old boy network" which clearly isn't working..Can be usurped by reasonable time management precident...which was enforced by ,"new blood" who, by naivete or principle stepped on the toes of a "good old boy", term limits.term limits,term limits!

    December 18, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. kingtech

    It's about time SOMEONE shut Lieberman down. He's been trying to shut down REAL healthcare reform and the business of the Senate long enough. You GO Al!

    December 18, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  21. Jim

    Good for Franken. High time somebody told this sanctimonious blowhard to pipe down.

    December 18, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  22. Jeff W.

    Every day I am so thankful that McCain isn't our president.

    December 18, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  23. OaklandTracy

    Good for Franken! Lieberman needs to sit down, shut up and go away. He cares nothing for everyday people, just the fat cats in insurance companies he's getting paid to protect by stonewalling real healthcare reform.

    December 18, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  24. Disappointed in TN

    What would you expect from a clown?

    December 18, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  25. cfrench

    Way to go Al!

    December 18, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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