December 18th, 2009
04:35 PM ET
6 months ago

MN GOP calls Franken-Lieberman incident an 'embarrassment'

Franken is taking heat for cutting off Lieberman.
Franken is taking heat for cutting off Lieberman.

(CNN) - The Minnesota Republican Party is calling out Sen. Al Franken's over his refusal to grant Sen. Joe Lieberman additional time to speak about the health care reform bill Thursday night.

"Al Franken's petty and petulant behavior on…the floor of the U.S. Senate is an embarrassment to our state," Party Chairman Tony Sutton said in a statement. "In just six months, Franken has established himself as the most uncivil and ineffective senator in Minnesota history."

The incident in question came Thursday evening, when Lieberman asked Franken, then presiding over the Senate, for an "additional moment" to conclude his remarks after the allotted 10 minutes had expired.

"In my capacity as the senator from Minnesota, I object," replied Franken, prompting a surprised Lieberman to ask "Really?"

Franken spokesman Jess McIntosh said Franken was merely following orders from his party's leaders, who asked that floor speeches be kept within their time limits to keep the debate moving.

The incident sparked a sharp rebuke from Sen. John McCain, who declared, "This is the first time I have ever seen a member denied an extra minute or two to finish his remarks."

Though the liberal Web site Thinkprogress reports McCain himself refused to grant senators additional time to speak in 2002 when the chamber was debating the Iraq War authorization.


Filed under: Al Franken • Joe Lieberman
soundoff (306 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Al Franken probably thought he would score a few points from the left wing-nut Liberals whose nose is still bent out of shape over Lieberman making them remove the Public Option and the Medicare at 55 provisions in the Health Care Bill. Franken's stay in the Senate will be short and after this stunt, probably painfully unfruitful. My guess is that nothing he proposes will go very far with Lieberman and his supporters blocking him at every turn. You could tell by the look on his face that Lieberman was not going to forget and forgive this very public insult. Minnesota still only has one effective Senator because Franken has undone his attempt at remaining low-key and has become the target for well deserved contempt and ridicule in the Senate. He's all yours Minnesota.

    December 18, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. Marie Laveaux

    The Republican Party is an embarrassment to the nation and they owe us all an apology. The "stall and delay" tactic is part of their "war plan', so as far as I am concerned, Franken did the right thing. The GOP has declared war on the President and in doing so, on all of America as well.

    December 18, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. walkman56

    To Al Franken;Thank you for shutting this disgraceful POS up. I don't know who the hell he is speaking for,but it sure as hell isn't the American people. If Lieberman thinks that the American people can't see that he has his head so far up the insurance companies ass,he is alot dumber than originally thought. What a poor excuse for a representative. He should resign in disgrace.

    December 18, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    The GOP had to filibuster the Defense Appropriations so the troops they so desperately wanted to send to Afghanistan would not have the proper equipment. You wingnuts really should demand more from your worthless political party.

    December 18, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. Ridgeway

    Although he played an idiot on TV is one. He's was a lousy comedian and now a worse congressman.

    December 18, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. gp

    Franken followed the rules to the letter, just like Norm Coleman did with his endless appeals of the vote.

    December 18, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. ran

    GOP,Lieberman, and Nelson can go to hell. Good for Franken.

    The Democrats need to continue to fight for the rights of the people because the Republicans never have or will. We need more Frankens in congress.

    December 18, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. Jane/Seattle

    It must be hard to resist letting Joe know just how much he is an Obstructionist and Worse! What happened when Cheney did much worse? What happened when Bush/Cheney ordered the deaths and suffering for Millions if not Billions? The rules of decorum are very different from this fake civility to the Streets! Were they in the Streets someone could very well be DEAD (like those killed in these WARS of Empire) just like the various sentences these powerbrokers impose on their "Subjects" here in the Land of the Corporate Serfs! Al and Alan: Our Street Heros! Fake "making nice" belies the Deadly Game these folks play with others' Lives! Lieberman and many of these Corporate Shills belong in the Prisons this Status Quo Oppression Built! Peace tells the Truth for Justice. J :o

    December 18, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. Justin NutherGuy

    Go Al, Go!

    Lieberman is playing games while the forgotten American people suffer at the hands of the insurance industry. We have an opportunity to impliment a rational national health care policy. What we have now is an insane wasteful system run by big business.

    I love those commercials that show insurance is a product that you can be elated to get for Christmas. Unwrapping insurance like it some great gift we should be excited about. It's a freakin service industry! It doesn't make any products! Any profits the insurance industry makes is just skimming our hard earned cash off the top of our incomes.

    I suppose they are attempting to program us into thinking these are actual products. Duh! Lieberman, shut up and get out of the way. Jerk!

    December 18, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. John, Livonia Mic

    It's amazing how many Liberals are going gaga over Franken, they most enjoy the United States going into the crapper.

    December 18, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. Jeff

    Senator Franken could have instead yelled, "YOU LIE !!!"

    December 18, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  12. Mark OBrien

    My hat is off to Al Fraken. When he won the election I had high hopes for him. Anyone who questions his intellect has not listened to him. If you want to question his political wisdom - go for it. Liebermann on the other hand deserves no respect. He is wrong on health care - clearly carrying the water for the insurance industry and his wife who is a spokesperson for Pharma. He was wrong to back McCain. He is a war monger in the middle east. He should be given not one extra second to spread his biased message.

    December 18, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. JohnInAustin

    Screw the GOP and what they think. They ran this country into the ground and their idiotic opinions don't mean SQUAT!!!

    December 18, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. ProudMinnesotaLib

    Acting breathlessly shocked, feigning outrage and demanding apologies seems to be SOP for the Minnesota GOP ... take a look at their press releases and look how many simply "demand apologies" for any number of supposed slights. This tactic generates contributions, I suppose, but it sure puts the lie to their leadership abilities.

    December 18, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. What a Joke

    I wonder if they would say it was an embarrassment if Liebermann was still on the "left" side. It is interesting that a representative and shout "you lie" at the President and that is not considered an embarrassment, but Franken puts a halt on the time limit for speaking and it becoming embarrassing. Can you pick a better fight to be a part of? You are embarrassing for even mentioning it.

    December 18, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. theman

    When reading all the comments, it strikes you that almost all support Franken. Doesn't that tell you that CNN is leftist media. Hmmmm?

    December 18, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. chuck

    I'm glad my campaign contribution is paying off. Go Al!

    December 18, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. Benjamin

    Bravo to Franken; finally a Senator doing his job.. He can look forward to my donation. With the GOP and Lieberman already explicitly stating that they intend to delay health care legislation, why should we give him more than the allotted to give us the same ol' rigamarole?

    I'm sick of every GOP conspiracy that any elected dem is somehow illegitmate. Franken is here to stay - get used to it.

    December 18, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. Shai

    Al Franken is truly representative of the democratic party...a bunch of failed comedians that know little about real people and their struggles. Democrats don't care about people utside the radius of the big cities.

    December 18, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. Brian

    A few things:

    Yes, Franken earned money as a comedian at one part of his life. He also received a Harvard degree. No small accomplishment that. How many pundits and Senators actually attended Hardvard? My bet is that most of his detractors did not.

    As per the objection today – it wa snot even the only one!!!! Earlier inthe session he did the same thing, in order to keep on schedule. There is a written limit of 10 minutes. Is that not a limit? If 11 is OK, why not 12? It is only 1 minute extra. And if 12 is OK, and I need to finish my comment, why not make it 13? Then 13 turns into 30. The 10minute rule was not instituted today. it has been around for decades. Lieberman had to know that.

    I am not a Lieberman detractor. i lived in Connecticut 15 years ago when the insurance companies moed to North Carolina. The Connecticut economy was decimated. Lieberman is looking out for his own State's welfare – ostensibly what the voters asked him to do. I think too many Senators forget that. They were elected to represent their constituents, and make ahrd decisions that will ultimately benefit their constituents. i disagree on his stance regarding health care. But I agree with his representation. But he still needs to follwo the rules. Franken was instructed by the Senate hierarchy to maintain the 10 minute rule. He did. So has McCain in his past.

    December 18, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Brad

    I wonder if the MN GOP was embarrassed when John McCain did the same thing to Mark Dayton during the Iraq War debate? Another case of Republicans and their selective memories...

    December 18, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. Michael

    The Mn GOP isn't embarrassed at the attempts to stop HCR (even though they did nothing about it when the republicans controlled everything) but this, this embarrasses them? ??? It shows how completely out of touch with reality they really are.
    I tell you what we need to do: cut health benefits for all members of congress! These guys have no skin in the game and we need to focus their attention.
    mike

    December 18, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. Pey

    Al was just making sure they have enough time in the future for the reading of every single word written on the document- and every other tactic the Republicans (which inludes Libby) will use to prolong universal health care in the USA.

    December 18, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. LMC

    If Leiberman was supposed to stick to a time frame, then he shouldn't expect anything more. Leiberman obviously doesn't care about the needs of people, who really need the public option!

    December 18, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. Impeach_O

    Franken and most of the people in Minn are idiots. They have been following idiots (Ventura) most of their lives, why stop now.

    December 18, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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