December 18th, 2009
04:35 PM ET
3 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. Grant

    Go Al!

    Somebody needs to shut Liberman up. I guess old Joe is getting in his last moments of feeling important since he's going to be thrown out on his bum the first time he faces another election. Let him go to the Party of No; seems like a nice fit. Idiots of a feather and all that.

    December 18, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. Gpenn

    On October 10, 2002 — just ahead of the looming mid-term elections — the Senate rushed a debate on a war authorization giving President Bush the power to use force against Iraq. The resolution ultimately passed the Senate after midnight on an early Friday morning by a vote of 77-23.

    During the course of the frenzied floor debate, then-Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN) spoke in favor of an amendment offered by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) that would have restricted Bush’s constitutional powers to wage war against Iraq. After a minute and a half, Dayton ran out of time, prompting this exchange:

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator’s time has expired.

    Mr. DAYTON. I ask for unanimous consent that I have 30 seconds more to finish my remarks.

    Mr. McCAIN. I object.

    December 18, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. Mike

    I don't care why Franken did it but I'm glad he did. If you listen to Lieberman over the past couple of years you really have to wonder where he is coming from and why. While campaigning in 2006, he said he was for universal health care. Just a few months ago he was for extending Medicare to people who were younger than 65. Who is lining his pockets??

    December 18, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. Rick CT

    Just another case of the libs wanting to hurry things along before the truth about their actions comes out

    December 18, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. jordan bell

    Stay after em Al.

    It's about time the Dems got someone in the Senate with a pair.

    December 18, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. R Wendel

    The GOP "set" the "new rules" of behavior with the 2000 election. I'm actually happy to see the Dems finally start playing the same game of incivility and attacking the messenger when they can't attack the message. More power to ya, Al!

    December 18, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. GuesstheGOPForgotPeopleHaveMemories

    Perhaps the Minnesota GOP should recall October of 2002, during Senate debate on giving President Bush the power to use force against Iraq. When Minnesota Democratic Senator Mark Dayton spoke in favor of an amendment offered by Sen. Robert Byrd that would have restricted Bush’s powers, Dayton ran out of time, prompting this exchange:

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator’s time has expired.

    Mr. DAYTON. I ask for unanimous consent that I have 30 seconds more to finish my remarks.

    Mr. McCAIN. I object.

    December 18, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. S.Ann

    The only thing embarrasing is the fact Liebeman changed his mind on the bill that made it so much worse other countries are starting to feel sorry for America. Al has the right to shut people up.

    December 18, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. jeff jackson, alabama

    I see nothing out the ordinary by Franken's
    behavior.
    It goes along with the democratic philosophy
    that freedom of speech is for them only, they are
    always right, and anybody not in their elite group
    couldn't possibly have any good ideas.

    December 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. Stephen - Houston

    The Republicans are the whiniest group of people on the face of the earth. They blow EVERYTHING up and kick and moan and scream about completely irrelevant arguments in hopes of changing the debate. I love how they NEVER tackle any serious issues, they find little petty things to cry about to get around the issue. I don't blame Franken, Leiberman is a corrupt scumbag. He had the complete opposite stance on healthcare less than 2 months ago, even his wife is in the pocket of the health insurance companies. The real crime is the fact that Leiberman and many other Republicans are so willing to watch innocent americans die as their insurance companies pull the plug. I love how all they do is cry and complain about the democrats plan, then propose ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to replace it.

    So let's see....we stick with what we have now and nobody but the obnoxiously rich can afford healthcare in a decade, and that's somehow better than going to a public option? Even if the public option puts health insurance companies out of business, who cares. If they weren't so worried about their profits there wouldn't be a healthcare debate right now. Less than 10 years ago they made 5 cents on the dollar, now they make 20. That's a 400% profit in crease....people are so ignorant...it's sad. People wonder why there are so many "hippy liberals" complaining about the dumb redneck republicans, this is why......read something other than Fox News for christ's sake...

    December 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. JeremyF

    Franken may be my new hero!

    December 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. Paul Wolborsky

    Their sister organization, the Nationalist Socialist Republican Party called Franken a Schweinhundt. Next up to denounce Senator Franken, Our Mother of the Fatherland Insurrection with 'Bring back the Inquisition' on deck.

    December 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. Former Republican

    Please. My former GOP has become an abysmal embarrassment. Not to mention, their ridiculous gimmicks are evolving into hypocritical irrelevance devoid of substance/intellect just to pander to their fringe elements and corporate greed. How sad.

    December 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Greg, MN

    Franken is a classless idiot. If it hadn't been for ACORNS discovery of "missing" ballot boxes he wouldn't be embarassing all of Minnesota in the Senate.

    Speaking of those ballot boxes you think anyone would now question precints that went 100% to Franken that just happened to be missing on election night...

    December 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. robert williams

    Most of the comments above display a lack of intellectual vigor consistent with the Dems willy-nilly rush to appove a 2000-page health bill few apparently have read. As Americans who voted these lightweights in office, we're obviously getting what we deserve.

    December 18, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. BigJoeRice Eden prairie MN

    Finally – somebody in Washington actually delivering change we can believe in. Nice one Al...........

    December 18, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. Frozone

    Al Franken is fast proving himself to be one of America's greatest Senators. Joe Lieberman didn't need anymore time to speak. The unprincipled liar from Aetna would only have changed his mind the next day.

    December 18, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. STAND AS ONE

    No, Sir Mr. Sutton, Mr. Franken was not at all wrong for doing what he did. I agree with his action 100%. There was a time limit set and Mr. Lieberman went over that limit. I think Mr. Lieberman just think he could do what he wants now-a-days and get away with. and for you Mr. McCain you are just full of HOT AIR.. the only reason why I think your sticking up for Lieberman is that you want him to vote against the healthcare bill. (period) (period)

    December 18, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. CW

    If people actually paid a little more attention to these kind of things and watched a little CSPAN or something, they would find that this really isn't that unusual. Everyone acts as if this is the first time this has happend. Typical fake outrage over pretty standard senate operating procedures. I can't even figure out why this is in the news.

    December 18, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. Salam Tims

    Getting criticized by a Republican functionary should be regarded as a mark of honor. As for Lieberman, the Democrats are long overdue to strip that unprincipled politician of the committee chairmanship they let him keep and make him a political pariah and outcast, as he richly merits.

    December 18, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. Preston

    It's interesting to hear the GOP whining about "petty and petulant behavior"...

    So, was McCain knowingly lying, or simply further exemplifying the progressive dementia that, frighteningly, could have put this country in the hands of a once-heroic-but-now-mean-spirited-and-senile old man and an attractive-but-abysmally-vapid woman?

    December 18, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. Debby

    I agree Franken as a Senator is enough of a joke nevermind not respecting a senior Senator.

    December 18, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Daniel

    Melissa your such a dummy, take a look at how the dummycrats are fighting within their own party on healthcare. Idiots can't even come to a consensus within their own party.

    December 18, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. Mike

    With due respect, everyone understood the time constraints and should have structured their allocated speking time appropriately.

    December 18, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    Jerry C. Lambert wants a public apology from Senator Franken?!?

    First in line should be Senator McCain apologizing to all the Senators he cut off in 2002 when debating a war authorization giving President Bush the power to use force against Iraq.

    When time ran out for then-Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN), he asked for an additional 30 more seconds to finish his remarks. Senator McCain objected to it, citing a desire to keep things moving along.

    So either Grumpy McCain was grandstanding yesterday or he's got early-onset Alzheimer's.

    December 18, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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