Disclosure: I worked for the Lamont campaign doing web design and production and some writing for the official blog (from 9/5/06 to 11/07/06).

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Harry Reid on Joe: "I Wouldn't Want to Embarrass Him"

In a Salon interview, Harry Reid says he "wouldn't want to embarrass" Joe Lieberman by revealing any theoretical private assurance he received from the senator about ruling out an independent run:

Did it bother you that Lieberman has indicated he'd run as an independent if he loses the Democratic primary -- or at least that he's leaving the door open to that?

He's never told me that. In fact, the letter I wrote for him said exactly the opposite.

Did you extract a promise that he wouldn't do that in exchange for your endorsement?

Well, anything I discussed with Joe was of a private nature, and I wouldn't want to embarrass him. I didn't extract anything.

Also in the interview, Reid mischaracterizes one of Lieberman's votes on Iraq, backing away from an earlier, harsher description of his ostracism from the party on the issue:

In December, when Lieberman was just back from a trip to Iraq and putting out an extraordinarily positive vision of progress in that country, you said that he was "alone ... literally alone" in his view, and that even Republicans didn't agree with him. Has he made it harder for the Democratic Party to take a stand, to be where it needs to be on Iraq?

I think that we, last December, did a good thing for the country when [Carl] Levin, [Joe] Biden, [Russ] Feingold, [Christopher] Dodd, Kerry, we worked out an amendment we were going to offer on the defense authorization bill that was the Democratic Senate's position [on Iraq]. And lo and behold, we were able to get 79 votes on that. What did that do? The law of the land today is that this year, 2006, will be a year of significant transition. That's the law. President Bush needs to live up to that law. And we as Democrats agreed with that, we got virtually every person to vote for it, including -- I'm confident that Lieberman voted for that. We may have lost maybe Ben Nelson, but I think we virtually got everybody.

But as Salon notes, this wasn't exactly how it went:

[Reid may be giving Lieberman more credit than he's due. The amendment introduced by Levin and backed by the other Democrats Reid mentioned said that 2006 should be "a period of significant transition" in Iraq, but it also called on the president to provide Congress with "a campaign plan with estimated dates for the phased redeployment" of U.S. troops. That amendment was defeated, 58-40, and Lieberman and Nelson were among those voting no. The amendment that won 79 votes -- including Lieberman's and Nelson's -- was an alternative proposed by Republican Sen. John Warner. Warner's amendment incorporated the "period of significant transition" language and much more from the Levin measure, but it did not include a requirement that the president provide Congress with "estimated dates" for pulling out troops. Six Democrats voted against the Warner amendment: Robert Byrd, Kent Conrad, Tom Harkin, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Patrick Leahy.]

I would imagine Harry Reid got an earful at YearlyKos about the Ned Lamont challenge. Some reports were that he had phoned Ned to dissuade him from running. Other reports were that it was only state Democratic officials who had called.

Harry Reid is a smart politician. I'm certain he'll do the right thing should Lieberman go Indy, and be quick about it.
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