December 18th, 2009
04:33 PM ET
10 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. Raul

    talk , talk , talk, that all Lieberman does were tired of dems just talking esp lieberhosen we want action and the bill passed.

    December 18, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. Anonymous

    Good for you Franken...Lieberman talking about absolutely nothing and wasting everyone's time.

    December 18, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. Dennis

    Joe Lebermann is a man. Al Franken is a little boy.

    December 18, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  4. Frank

    So this was an SNL skit after all.

    December 18, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  5. sctotty j.

    "I must say that I don't know what's happening here in this body, but I think its wrong," said McCain. Senator, you got that right! Most the things going on there ARE wrong... :p

    December 18, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. Steve

    I hope Franken gave Senator Lieberman a HUGE apology. He is a joke of a rookie senator who should have known better. He has absolutely no respect for his colleagues and should resign and go back to being a comedian. Oh that's right, he wasn't good at that job either!

    December 18, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  7. Taylor

    I can"t stand Lieberman anyway. Benedict Arnold

    December 18, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  8. Norm

    Lieberman hasn’t said anything constructive in the past six months and if he does say something positive, he changes his position anyway. He is strictly an obstructionist that will do anything to feed his ego and continue to be fed by the insurance lobby. It is not the citizens, but Joe, Joe, Joe.

    December 18, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  9. Chris

    At what point did they cuddle?

    December 18, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  10. JamesPMorrison

    Franken shuts up Lieberman, telling him he's out of time. Let's hope the voters of Connecticut do the same.

    December 18, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  11. buckwheat

    Why would you expect any othe response from Al Frankin?He is just another example of this government that has invaded a free country.All are comedians.

    December 18, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  12. Terry

    Democrat, Republican, or Independent, you have to admit that Lieberman needs to be cut off from speaking so that people don't kill themselves from the sound of his voice.

    December 18, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  13. chill

    Proof that the childishness begun with GOP's silly stall tactics like forcing complete bills to be read is also alive on the left. Grow up boys and girls.

    December 18, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  14. rasabu

    Honestly, I'd love to take away Lieberman's right to speak in the Senate ever again.

    December 18, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  15. pho

    Finally, someone with guts to put this weasel in his place. Go Al Franken!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 18, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  16. buckwheat

    This is the only way this nobody can get recognition. Make a name then make a mess. The Democrat way.

    December 18, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  17. Mike

    al franken is an IDIOT I cant believe he was elected.

    December 18, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  18. Garry

    Whats the big deal..it happens a lot..Just trying to stir up controversy again..Lot s of senators have had their time cut short..
    Get on with real news okay!

    December 18, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  19. BillyBobTomRedcracker

    Way to go Al. You must be as tired as the rest of us when it comes to listening to Joe the Traitor drone on and on with his lies and back-stabbing rhetoric.

    December 18, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  20. Tom in VA

    Senator Franken... YOU ROCK!

    December 18, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  21. Kyle W.

    I love how they want to enforce the rules and make sure to keep time limits. Then spend the next 20 minutes going back and forth about it.
    Their gonna run health care? Yay!

    December 18, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  22. kc

    Lieberman should not be allowed to talk anymore, i wish they could kick him out of the senate floor as well.. Joe Lieberman has sold his soul to the devil and deserve nomore respect.

    December 18, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  23. Kenneth

    Joe Lieberman and Al Franken weren't hugging. He was checking Lieberman's pockets for 30 pieces of silver.

    December 18, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  24. John--Black Hills/SD

    It's no wonder that our USA is becoming more like a third world nation, the immaturity and the self serving representatives aren't doing their jobs because they behave child like, and I'm tired of it. I'll be voting for a new face for the House & Senate.

    December 18, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. Lisa

    I love Al Franken. In his time in the Senate, I have seen him do more good and be more principled than most other libs there. There is something to be said for having new blood in the house. And there is a lot to be said about the wonder who is Sen. Franken!

    December 18, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
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