December 18th, 2009
04:35 PM ET
11 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. Dimslie

    Franken is dirt but, I don't think he meant anything by it. There's an old saying: "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

    December 18, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. The Republican't Party is the Biggest Loser

    "Al Franken's petty and petulant behavior on…the floor of the U.S. Senate is an embarrassment to our state,"

    Oh no . . . . the Republican't Party has cornered the market on "petty and petulant behavior" in the US Senate floor and everywhere else!

    December 18, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Carey M Phoenix AZ

    Lieberman got exactly what he deserved. I am an Independent in Arizona and If Lieberman were my Senator I would want to vote him out just like I want to vote our two do nothing on healthcare Senators in AZ out!

    December 18, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. Frank

    Hooray for Senator Franken. It's about time someone puts Joe Lieberman in his place and to send a message too him that he is way out of line with the majority of people who supports health care reform with a public option. Don't back down Senator Franken. You are doing a fantistic job. Remember, Lieberman is with the Insurance industry and don't give a hoot of all Americans. This comes from a Vietnam Veteran!

    December 18, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Peter E

    Pitiful bickering. On both sides. And it goes back and forth. One party acts like a douche one year, then a few years later hypocritically whines when the other party returns the favor.

    December 18, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. SocialismBad

    I hope Joe Lieberman nows decides to vote NOT to close debate, essentially killing this bill. I'll serve the Democrats right. Their guter politics should be held accountable.

    December 18, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. Josh

    Seriously, the GOP needs to learn to be a little more mature. Just because they're bitter that they lost the presidency and majority doesn't mean they need to call foul on every thing that President Obama and the Senate and the House attempt to accomplish and make themselves look like schoolchildren. They're supposed to be representing the people that elected them, which is the majority, not try to block everything that our leaders are trying to accomplish just because they're not in the same political party.

    December 18, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. SCOT

    Lieberman is past his sell-by date in every respect. I'm ashamed to be from the same state as thiis jerk

    December 18, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. Russel

    The only real hope for our country is that the Independents grow their ranks. Independents who aren't bent on the typical polarized views of lefty-righty. The he said she said immature behavior of the political fringe dominate our media and policies. Until that is changed, our country is doomed.

    December 18, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. DianeR PCFL

    Mr. Franken a junior senator was extremely rude and disrespectful to do this to someone of Mr. Liberman's stature. I think his internship on Saturday Night Live is still instilled in his brain. I would like to hear a public apology from Mr. Franken. I never thought that much of him as a comedian and think even less of him as a senator. What was Minnesota thinking. –
    -------------------------------–
    No more rude and disrespectful than Senator John McCain in 2002 when, during the Senate Iraq War debate, he cut-off the debate of Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN) while speaking in favor of Senator Byrd's amendment to restrict GWB's constitutional powers to wage war. You Regressives have a real selective memory about your own arrogance.
    Sounds to me like Senator Franken remembers this incident quite well and he was very, very successful at imposing "Divine Pay-Back" at just the right moment. Gotta' Love It!!!!

    December 18, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. dizizcamron

    talk about hyperbolic....i actually saw that incident on video. it wasn't at all uncivil. franken even said it rather sheepishly. lieberman was surprised, but not offended. it was clear that franken was legitimately trying to keep things moving, and lieberman was rambling on like someone's grandfather. that guy does talk really slow and really borling, youv'e got to admit.

    December 18, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. Snalg

    Good for you, Al, and good for America. You were elected to change things and you're doing it. Of course the old dogs will howl. Let them howl at the moon if they choose. At least the Senate can be more productive. Thank you, Mr. Senator!

    December 18, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Soul Glow

    Isn't the MN GOP the same organization who put Michelle Bachman in office? Isn't embarrassment an emotion which predicates on someone having shame? Man! This is rich!

    December 18, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. Sam

    It's about time someone got the nerve to stand up and follow the rules. Otherwise, they are going to be some senators wanted to have their speech on the news by grandstanding. Good for you AL.

    December 18, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  15. Richard from Austin

    Sounds like the Minnesota GOP are sore losers and have it in for Al. The negative comments in this blog have no substance, and could only be made by a not-so-smart person with vengeance on their mind.

    December 18, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. bobster

    That's the way you shut a back stabber-up! Time-Out, Go straight too your room and don't collect your pay check! get outa town lier-man!

    December 18, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. dick delson

    Lieberman is an embarrassment and a traitor to the Democratic Party. He should consider changing his name to Benedict Arnold.

    Lieberman is garbage.

    December 18, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. Marcus Greensboro, NC

    If he was my Senator I would applaud him for what he did to Lieberman. If you could curse on the floor, I would have cursed Lieberman out for making this bill weak and a waste of time. He is tired of bending to these Senators who are looking at their pocket before the pockets of their constituents. I am sure in Connecticut people are upset that Lieberman has essentially gone against what they want. He was elected to represent his constituents' interests, not his own. I want CNN to go to Connecticut and ask the citizens there what they think about his stance on the Health Care debate.

    December 18, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Michele

    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 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  20. Barbara

    Love it!!! Lets take back the power from the bully party..Thank you Al Franken-I didn't know you had it in you. Bravo

    December 18, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. Perusing-through

    LET'S PLAY "FLIP THE JERK"

    100's of hard-working middle-class Americans die each day because of a lack of decent health-coverage, while Lieberman jerks the Senate and the American people around with his frivolous flip-flopping just to please his "Health Insurance Lobbyist Puppet Masters".

    December 18, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Annie

    Oh boo hoo. Lieberman is a horse's @ss!

    December 18, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Pelosi's a see-you-en-tea

    ...to go from being the comedian to being the joke...

    December 18, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. Mike S., New Orleans

    I think it's hysterical that Stuart Smalley wouldn't let Elmer Fudd speak past the ten minutes.

    December 18, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. Brad

    The Republicans are simply trying to filibuster the bill... Franken was spot on in keeping with the time limits. It was on senators who spoke prior to and after Droopy Dog.

    December 18, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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