I put together a mash-up of Chris Matthews on Hardball expressing his deep concern for poor old Joe Lieberman being treated so badly by Al Franken on the Senate floor. Tweety's all a flutter over heaven forbid someone in the Senate upsetting the usual decorum they have with each other. I say good for Al. Anything that gets Tweety and Grandpa McCain worked into a frenzy over something as minor as this is alright by me. Give 'em hell Al.
Transcript via Lexis Nexis.
MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at this fight today. I want you to listen to this. It`s not definitely on your territory, but it`s got to fascinate you.
MATTHEWS: Here`s Joe Lieberman being told by Al Franken, the senator from Minnesota, to basically shut down and get out of the way, that you don`t have any more time. Let`s watch this. This is how fractious things are getting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: ... will provide an opportunity for broad savings in health care and health insurance for pretty much everybody in our country...
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: Senator? Senator, you`ve spoken for -- I`m sorry -- the senator has spoken for 10 minutes.
LIEBERMAN: I wonder if I could ask unanimous consent for just an additional moment.
FRANK: In my capacity as senator from Minnesota, I object.
LIEBERMAN: Really? Oh, OK. Don`t take it personally. I will ask unanimous consent that the remainder of my remarks be included in the record as if read.
FRANK: Without objection.
LIEBERMAN: I thank the chair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`ve never seen that, David. Working on the Hill, following the Hill, I`ve never seen a senator cut short on a -- you know, a casual request for an extra minute to continue speaking in a Senate that`s allowed to speak forever. Let`s face it, we understand you can speak forever in the Senate. Does that show how hot things are getting or what?
MATTHEWS: How do you tell Blanche Lincoln, who`s hanging on by her fingernails down there in Arkansas -- how do you tell -- Lieberman would do anything.
WEINER: Well, let me give you an example.
MATTHEWS: I mean, Al Franken was the first guy ever to tell him to do anything, which was to keep quiet.
MATTHEWS: I mean, nobody can tell Lieberman what to do. Blanche Lincoln is fighting for her life down there. Ben Nelson was governor of Nebraska. He knows more of that state politics than you`ll ever know. You can`t tell him how to vote in Nebraska. And the president can`t tell him.
WEINER: The president...
MATTHEWS: So how do you -- it`s a democracy represented by people in politics. You can`t tell politicians what`s good for them unless you know something they don`t know. What is it?
WEINER: You know, but here`s what`s -- a couple things I think we should do first. First, make them filibuster. Make Joe Lieberman stand on the floor for hour after hour after hour, explain to the American people why he`s against the public option, why he`s against his own position on expanding Medicare.
WEINER: That`s one thing. Secondly, we keep saying 60 votes. Joe Lieberman won`t even let his colleagues vote on a public option. That`s what`s truly outrageous here. I think that first...
MATTHEWS: I know.
WEINER: ... we need to change some of the dialogue. Not just the threat of a filibuster, let`s make some of these guys actually go out and filibuster and watch how their support erodes in their home constituency.
MATTHEWS: OK. I got an idea. Call up Al Franken, the senator from Minnesota, and say, Not only let him filibuster, give him an extra minute because that`s how fractious this is getting.
MATTHEWS: ... you say let him filibuster and Al won`t give him a minute. Anyway, that`s where it stands. That`s how hot it`s getting. I respect your position, sir.
Joan and Melinda, you two be the judge. Here is Al Franken, the senator from Minnesota, calling the clock, if you will, on the -- well, the highly disputed Joe Lieberman. Here you decide whether this was personal or just parliamentarian. Let`s watch him say "no more time, senator."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: -- will provide an opportunity for broad savings in health care and health insurance for pretty much everybody in our country --
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: I`m sorry, the senator has spoken for ten minutes.
LIEBERMAN: I wonder if I could ask unanimous concept for just an additional moment?
FRANKEN: In my capacity as senator from Minnesota, I object.
LIEBERMAN: Really? Okay. Don`t take in personally.
FRANKEN: I won`t.
LIEBERMAN: I will ask unanimous consent that the remainder of my remarks be included in the records as if read.
FRANKEN: Without objection.
LIEBERMAN: I thank you, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, John McCain, Joe Lieberman`s best buddy these days, jumped in on that. Joan, you are first. John McCain jumped in on that and said that was extraordinary to have a person sort of body checked like that, by Al Franken, who certainly has a point of view on this health issue, and point of view apparently on Joe Lieberman. Do you buy the leadership argument, which came out in this statement I have in my hand here -- here I am waving it. This is the leadership explanation, "in an effort to make sure the health care bill can be finished by Christmas, Harry Reid has told all the presiding officers, those senators sitting in the chair on the dais to to make sure all members, regardless of party, are held within their allotted time to speak, not a minute or second more."
So do you believe this is just school-marm behavior by the leadership or do you think this was a direct shot into the bosom of the outrider?
JOAN WALSH, "SALON": It was a direct shot. There is no doubt about it. You know what, Chris? I sent that video around to my staff right before I left for this show. It was such a fine moment, because I think you made the point best earlier in the show. Nobody has done anything to Joe Lieberman. No Democrat has said anything formal to rebuke him. You have got the White House coming out and calling Howard Dean irrational, and declaring war on Howard Dean. I disagree with Howard Dean, let me be clear on that. But they are letting Joe Lieberman walk all over them.
Let me tell you, that was a very, very satisfying moment for a lot of liberal Democrats.
MATTHEWS: Satisfying moment. Melinda, do you have an emotional response to this like that or what?
MELINDA HENNEBERGER, POLITICSDAILY.COM: Well, it was funny, I mean, to have Joe Lieberman saying, I don`t take it personal. Translation, I take it personally. And you know, even though, to me, Franken looked a little rude, and it was no coincidence that he was the first one to have the clock called on him, given that I`m sure Franken wanted to come across the desk and kill him, maybe not so much.
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