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. Angry American

    Besides stupidy taking over Capital Hill, we have clowns like Al Franken who get elected by brainless people in Minnesota.

    December 18, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. newz4i

    Senators Lieberman and McCain. Stop grandstanding and get to work for the American people. Okay?

    December 18, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. Dr. Phil Goode

    Way to go, Franken!!

    December 18, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. WHAT???????????

    Anyone talking for 10 minutes needs to be told to shut up !!!!!

    December 18, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. steve

    Surely Liberman has had plenty of opportunity to say what's on his mind and CNN carries all of it.

    December 18, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. Boisepoet

    McCain, since you obviously don't know what's going on in the Senate, why don't you quit while you are ahead.

    December 18, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  7. Jeremiah

    Franken is a disrespectful piece of trash. The fact that he was elected is just a testament to how useless Minnesota.

    December 18, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  8. GINGER/ san diego

    so what! Who cares anymore what any of them do.
    I am a democrat and yet, see failure with them too at this time.

    December 18, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. Joe Lieberman supporter

    Al Franken and Harry Reid are ridiculous...

    December 18, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. Jim Flora

    After Al Franken's inexperienced performance with Joe Lieberman I have a feeling the Democrats can kiss Healthcare Good-By.

    December 18, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. gl, From Pittsburgh

    That not all they should have cut off from LIEberman!

    December 18, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. ac

    Franken - the Barely Elected Senator - once again shows the Left Wing's intolerance of opposing viewpoints.

    December 18, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. J

    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.

    is it peaking or speaking? get it together Cnn

    December 18, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. voter from CT

    Thanks senator Al Franken we the voters of CT con not stop him, but at least you did not give him additional time to parade his self fish desirer .He is an elected senator from CT, but some how he does not vote un half of the people of CT, does what benefits Joe and Joe alone.

    December 18, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. Bozo

    Franken is a clown... I should know.

    December 18, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. Thomas

    It shows what a putz Al Franken is.

    Now Minnesota is the laughing stock of the nation for being dumb enough to elect a comedian in a time when we need leadership.

    December 18, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. Peggy Lucas, Middletown, Pennsylvania

    Joe Lieberman should have been cut off long before now. Matter of fact, he should be kicked out of the Senate and let him become what he really is a REPUBLICAN who does not care about the people in his State or in the the United States!

    December 18, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. Kevin

    Just another example of the Democratic Majority trying to silence the opposition. Never fear though, the annointed one's poll numbers are lowest of any president since FDR during his first year. 2010 promises to be a time for the republicans to clean the house and senate of these kooks.

    December 18, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  19. Jeff Johnston

    Yeah McCain, we know you see nothing wrong with stalling and obstructing the health bill. That's what make you and Lieberman republicans: being puppets of the insurance industry.

    December 18, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. MB

    Gee, can we get everyone else to stand up to that nutjob Joe Lieberman too?

    December 18, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. Steve

    Wow, Franken has some guts standing up to a former Vice Presidential candidate, and the former Republican Presidential candidate. I think with a matter as important as health care. These Senators should be entitled to speak on their views. He was only asking for a moment, and I dont see the harm in that. Franken did overstep boundaries in my opinion.

    December 18, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. LLB

    Typical American politics. Will it ever stop before they destroy this country???

    December 18, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  23. Morgan

    Someone needed to shut him up.

    December 18, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  24. Mr. Meteoritical

    Lieberman is owned by Aetna and the insurance companies. He serves the insurance industry and not the people. Lieberman should be recalled from the senate and stripped of power.

    December 18, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  25. Zach

    This reads like a barely grown-up equivalent to high school gossip, thank you for the quality news reporting.

    December 18, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
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