December 18th, 2009
04:33 PM ET
8 years 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

"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. Kenny

    Well it didn't take Franken long to get ruined by power. Hugging and laughing with that horrible little Lieberman who single handedly tanked what little was left of the most important piece of progressive legislation in our lifetimes? Franken should have slapped him in the face with a leather glove instead.

    December 18, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  2. Nadai

    Al Franken is a liberal moon bat . When liberals don't get their way thay act like cry babies, they their toys, and stomp away. They believe they are smarter than anyone else on any subject. They are rude, arrogant, and wrong on the issues. Consistency is their only virtue.

    December 18, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  3. Jason Chicago

    Joe deserved it. He wants it both ways and has been acting like the most important senator ever. Its nice to see a democrat showing some backbone and bringing Leiberman off his pedestal.

    December 18, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  4. Greg from Virginia

    Yea....Sit down and Shut up Lieberman, your 5 min's of fame has expired just like your common since and dignity. You should be removed from any commity that you hold a seat for.

    December 18, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. Bj

    Al Franken is a fool, and should have stayed with comedy where making a fool of yourself is expected. Making a fool of yourself on the floor of the senate shows what a mistake Minnesota made in electing that idiot.

    December 18, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  6. kk

    Franken was going by the rules of the Senate. Joe is a windbag and just wants to be heard all of the time, just like the Party of NO. Isn't it sad to hear these Senators that want everything their way but forget while they are bickering people are dying because of no insurance coverage.

    December 18, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  7. walleye

    They have ALL talked TOO MUCH. Its now time for action. Sign this bill, and give the American people the health care they deserve. We have spent enough fighting a war built on lies by the Bush administraion. Its time for that money to be used to help our own people.

    December 18, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. killbucket

    YAY- somebody finally told the Two-Face to shut up. He's done!

    December 18, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  9. TCM

    Franken is right up there with the "inexperienced," just like Obama....the liberals think nothing of treading on others' rights, and when they don't get their way, they resort to childlike rudeness and pouting (Obama's specialty)....Franken should shut up...

    December 18, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. C from middle GA

    Save us from the dynamic duo... Remember – this pair brought us Sarah from Alaska...

    December 18, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. C Spurgeon

    Some of these old white haired men need to get voted out of the Senate so that only their wives are subject to their boring predicable rhetoric. Well done Mr Franken

    December 18, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  12. db

    I'm a Minnesotan, and I can tell you that Franken is a nasty, partisan pit bull. It was only a matter of time before something like this happened, and I fear he's just getting warmed up.

    December 18, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. Sadie

    I would kick this sleezy excuse for a man over to the side of the Republicans with the rest of the sleez bags.........

    December 18, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. New Age Independent

    Fraken and other radical liberals don't want to hear anything but their own drivel. Lieberman has a right to his own opinion and should be heard regardless of his views. Or have we become a country where only those in power are heard? Are we now the new soviets?

    December 18, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Jamie

    Obama/Franken 2012!!!

    December 18, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. AJ

    The talking heads are idiots.

    December 18, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  17. Hernan Umana

    All of you senators should be lined up and tarred. You are all stupid and an insult to human are all liars.

    December 18, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. 2z

    Good for Al! Sooner than later, we need to get Lieberman out of the senate. At least make him an unnecessary fixture until that time. What a waste he turned out to be! Thanks Al!!!!

    December 18, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  19. C Spurgeon

    Go away Lieberman....Take McCain with you..two stuffy old boring losers.

    December 18, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. Joel

    Why was a junior Senator, who stole on election, allowed to be the presiding officer? Because he is liberal enough, left enough, and doggoneit, he's a Democrat.

    December 18, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  21. Harry8

    Great! It’s about time someone told Loserman to sit down and shut up. He's a disgrace, he is not a Democrat or liberal, just a typical bought and paid for GOP hack. Why would anyone care what he thinks or has to say? He does not deserve any respect and should be striped of his chairmanship; he has NO seniority as an Independent.

    December 18, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  22. Dan

    Good for Leiberman...he wants to listen to the lobbying of the CT medical insurance industry instead of his constituents so why bother to let him speak? Shout him down from the highest mountain Al...

    December 18, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  23. EDDIE

    Finally someone told Lieberman to shut up.Good

    December 18, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  24. tom

    Once again Franken is illustrating to the nation what an idiot he is.

    December 18, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  25. Bill Daly

    Typical of the modern Democratic party. Only rights for themselves and the groups they either support to get their votes in elections or depend upon for financial support

    December 18, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12