December 18th, 2009
04:35 PM ET
8 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. Joe Bob

    You bleeding heart libs can have Al Franken. Right or wrong on the issue, he's the blowhard.

    December 18, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. JR

    Hardly surprising that the GOP is defending one of their own, Lieberman is a major republican in the senate.

    Keep up the good work Senator Franken.

    December 18, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. David in Chicago

    Al Franken could singlehandedly cure cancer and the republicans would look for a way to attack him. Its the same old, same old GOP strategy of "bash and attack" that serves ONLY to churn up the GOP base that's as hungry as baby birds for any reason to be offended and proclaim how the other guy is wrong. They (the GOP) has no idea how tired we are of their 100% predictability: whatever a democrat says, the republicans will tell you how its wrong. Nothing makes a republican happier than screaming about how offended he or she is.

    December 18, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. REB

    Once this bill is passed, the Dem leadership should give Lieberman his due. Put him back to the last seat on every committee.

    December 18, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. MatthewDetroit

    Franken is an idiot. I blame the people of Minnesota who clearly are not that smart for electing this guy.
    Lieberman is a respected long term statesman. There is not time for petty rants by a junior senator.

    Grow up Frankel. You are too extremen and too liberal.

    I dont agree with Lieberaman but you can at least show respect.

    December 18, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. TheChris

    Franken is sealing the deal ... he'll have to go back to writing comedy for Progressive Radio pretty soon. What a doofus.

    December 18, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. John A. Kerr, Jr.

    Hooray, indeed, for Franken. That took guts, especially as a "freshman senator" and does Minnesota proud.
    Tony Sutton's comments–and John McCain's even more so, given his previous denial of time to others in similar circumstances–are beneath contempt. Sutton's comments at least reveal the turncoat Lieberman's true colors!

    December 18, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. dudh

    Who cares what the Minnesota Republican party thinks? Probably rightwingers.
    Sen. Franken did the right thing. Anything to shut two-faced Lieberman up is fine.

    December 18, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. The Irony of Religion

    Funny they are not embarrassed that they ruined our country. Or did they forget that they create Legislation?

    Yup, they did

    December 18, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Ken

    They say they'll do whatever it takes to stall the bill into oblivion, then criticize anyone who challenges them as being petulant, bitter, uncivil, and ineffective. To heck with them, Franken stopped the antics and pushed to move forward with the business of governing... if the GOP understood the difference between the two, they'd still be in power today.

    December 18, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Jeff

    Lieberman got what he deserved. He's a traitor to his state and to the American people. He's a Republican lap-dog as far as I'm concerned.

    December 18, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. MatthewDetroit

    MIKE....

    You can HOPE all you want.

    The Democrats TRIED to kick Lieberman out and they Failed.

    The guy has something that MOST democrats dont have...

    Its called INTEGRITY.

    I dont agree with all of his politics but lieberman is a fair honest man.

    December 18, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. stike 1

    Franken an embarassment from the GOP who supports a real clown and embarrasment to the state in Michelle Bachman. Hardy Har. Keep the sobs honest Al.

    December 18, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. www.circleparkforum.com

    The GOP really needs to stop inserting itself into the serious divide that's brewing between the corporatist Democrats and the progressive Democrats.

    I'm not usually all that interested in giving free advice to Republicans, but when I heard John McCain mockingly say on the Senate floor that he agrees with Howard Dean, I couldn't believe how remarkably stupid it was of McCain to insert himself in the Democrats' fight with Democrats.

    Republicans, do yourselves a favor: stand aside and leave the American people to watch the feud between the corporatist Democrats and the progressive Democrats.

    December 18, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. phillysports

    when franken was first elected we all thought it was a joke,now he is leading the senate for the dems,minnesota -we know it is cold up there but are your brains frozen to elect such an idoit to represent our counrty-lieberman whether you like him or not deserves some respect

    December 18, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. Jg

    This is such a non story. Senator Lieberman had his time, he asked for more and he was denied. Big deal get over it. Senator Franken doesn't owe him anymore time. Senator Lieberman has been in the Senate long enough that if he can't get his point across in the alloted time he never will. Everyday homeless people ask me for money on the street, and I say no and keep walking. Does that mean I have to give them money because they ask. Grow up.

    December 18, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. joe dokes

    Franken is popular, he's smart and he's willing to let opponents have it right between the eyes because he does his research... all qualities the GOP fears greatly from its opponents.

    December 18, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. jack

    And this from the same party that kept Sen. Al off the floor for 6 months while they dragged out the voter certification need to seat the new senator.

    What's appalling are those post here that support what the GOP is doing, NOTHING. That is truly your tax dollars at work. Talk about "waste in government", if we want to clean up government it is time to remove those who hold office and only bring to the bargaining table, NO, NO, NO....no ideas, no compromise, no debate. Now that is an example of leadership and how to get things done.
    Like Nancy Regan said, "just say no!". And we all know how that turned out.

    December 18, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. MatthewDetroit

    GEORGE.

    You tried to make a point but you FAILED.

    The man was not heckling Barack he was caling him what he is............A Liar.

    Frankel was not heckling anybody. Please get your facts straight before you type. It makes you look stupid.

    December 18, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. Gene Gilbertson

    If anyone is petty in this exchange , it's McCain. Franken did the right thing here and McCain sounded like a little baby. If the Senate would be specific and quit wasting time like this, they might actually get something accomplished, like passing the bill the people of the country want passed. Johnnie, why don't you take your favorite blankie and go home to cry yourself to sleep. Better yet quit, go home, and don't both to come back you little baby – hero – my foot.

    December 18, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. dustin

    alan grayson and al franken make me proud to be liberal.

    December 18, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. MarkBaird

    And they call this news. And people actually react to this.

    December 18, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. Pete

    This bears repeating, but during the Senate "debate" on the Iraq War vote, Robert Byrd exceeded his time limit, asked for more time, and was denied by the objection of one Senator. That Senator? John McCain.

    December 18, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. Annie

    I love you, Al Franken.

    December 18, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. bkm

    The same less-than-civil attitude that Senator Franken displayed is also being demonstrated by all the ones here who are calling people mental midgets, clowns, windbags, shills, dictators and "Judas." It is shameful to see how the discourse in our country has become so ugly and impolite. And, it's not just here, and not just one political group doing it. For every FOX commentator who calls people "pinheads," there is an MSNBC commentator who refers to others as "the worst people in the world."

    How little effort and time would it have taken to allow Senator Leiberman a few more seconds to finish his comments? About the same small amount of effort it would take for many of you to decide to simply disagree in this forum without being disagreeable. Can't we just show each other a little maturity and basic human respect?

    December 18, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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