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
"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.
No, they did it because it was Joe Lieberman! If it had been Mark Warner, Claire McCaskill, or any other fall in line Democrat they would have been allowed to finish. Lieberman & McCain get it. Stewart Smalley does not.
Good for you Al. It's about time somebody put the creepy little toad in his place. I know Al was just doing what was asked of him but it still sounded good to have him tell Ole Joe he had to shut up.
Al Franken is a clown and apparently he wants to be head ringmaster. What a jerk, anyone who voted for him should have their voting rights taken away.
Lieberman's a weasel who's enjoying all the attention he's getting as he helps rip the Democratic Party apart.
The real scorn must be reserved for those who enabled this weasel – Harry Reid and Barack Obama – who have totally failed the American people.
Thank god someone had the good sense to stand up to this clown. Nice going, Franken.
Liebie is great- as long as he's saying what you want to hear. For the right price, he'll say anything. Kind of like the 1-900 numbers in the 80's.
Good for Franken. When you haven't been a member of the good old boy's club very long, you know what needs to be done!
I hope Franken meant it personally, and I hope that later meeting was for show. Lieberman is holding up reform, and Democrats need to show him that it won't be tolerated.
I can't figure out if Lieberman is a republican in sheep's clothing, or if it is McCain as a democrat. Either way, it is good these 2 don't always tow the party line–they actually think the issues through.
Politics as usual.
Joe Lieberman is arrogant, corrupt and self-promoting ARSE WHOLE!
An outsider casuing a rucus on the senate floor? How dare he challenge the old school (I mean – really old school – 20 years is way too long on the floor).
Franken is an idiot. Joe should not put up with this... Filibuster the deal Joe. Show Franken who really has the Power.
Was this a Saturday Night Live skit? It's scary to think that someone who declared the entire decade of the 80'S the "me , Al Franken Decade" has come into political power.
A "reporter" might have dug a little deeper with this story and let us know if other Senators were denied extra time or if it was just Lieberman.
The same thing that happened to Joe Wilson...should happen to Franken. Come on Reid do your thing...yeah right. The Wisconsin voters will take care of Franken... he is the embarrassment ....we all thought he would be.
We should have all of the traitors in the senate gagged. Only then can we get something done.
That's what he deserves. He has been a roadblock in the heath care reform. I will pass the bill to him in the next elections.
Good thing it wasn't a republican or I am sure he would have been lynched by now. The United States is so political and messed up.
Was this the same senator John McCain who, during last year's presidential campaign, proposed a healthcare reform plan that would subsidize insurance for those who can't afford it to be paid for with $1.3 trillion in cuts to medicare and medicaid over the next ten years? Have a nice day!
Franken is just trying to combat stalling tactics intended to kill the bill. Lieberman's speech was not important.
Cannot believe what is happening to this country, it is a disgrace!
What do you expect from the junior joker who stole an election? Just the Democratic way
Look, we're talking about Joe Lieberman here. This guy has been thwarting progress for far too long. Can you blame Franken?
Joe "Two-Faced" Lieberman should be silenced.