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Joe Lieberman: Most Powerful Man in the Senate

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

I said yesterday that Mitch McConnell is the most powerful man in the Senate. Oh, by the way, this is big news, and I forget it to mention this, Tom Vilsack, the governor of Iowa, has announced that he is dropping out of the Democratic presidential sweepstakes for this year. I had forgotten he got in. When I saw the story, I thought first, when did he get in? So Vilsack's gone. I wanted to make sure we keep you informed, the cutting edge of the latest political news.
So I said yesterday that Mitch McConnell is the most powerful man in the Senate, the Republican leader, and have been telling you this ever since the election. The Senate is where liberalism, Democrat Party legislation can be stopped. Republicans in the House are powerless. But now there's a new contender for the most powerful man in the Senate, and that is Joe Lieberman, because Lieberman told the Politico.com website yesterday that while he has no immediate plans to switch parties, it is something on the table. The reason for it is Democrat opposition to funding the war in Iraq. Lieberman now is operating as an independent, caucuses with the Democrats, and has been among the strongest supporters of the war and President Bush's plan for the surge. Lieberman said, ?I have no desire to change parties. If that ever happens, it's because I feel a majority of Democrats have gone in a direction I don't feel comfortable with.? In fact, it's even worse than that.
Lieberman has stopped attending the weekly lunches of the Senate Democrats because he finds it totally uncomfortable to talk about Iraq with them. He just doesn't want to be around them talking about Iraq. So Dingy Harry has offered to have the Iraq discussions at another occasion so that Lieberman can attend the Wednesday lunches, or the weekly lunches, I don't know when they're held with the Senate Democrats. Now, why does this make Lieberman the most powerful man in the Senate, or at least the second most powerful? Because he's put it out there that he could switch parties. And if he does, with Tim Johnson -- who, by the way, has flown back to South Dakota for rehabilitation. He's left the hospital in Washington, but he's nowhere near returning to active duty in the Senate, and so his vote doesn't happen. But even with that, if Lieberman were to become a Republican, guess who runs the Senate?
The Republicans would have the majority in the Senate, plus the vice president's vote on legislation. That would throw everything that Pelosi and these people have just totally out of whack. It would just gum up the works. All these committee chairmanships, they'd be out there demanding a co-sharing agreement and equal membership on each committee like they did when Jim Jeffords switched parties and made the Democrats 50-50, and Trent Lott went along with this, of course. He's going to be able to get what he wants, within reason, from both parties. He's more closely aligned with the Republicans on the issue that matters most to the Democrats in the Senate anyway, and that is Iraq. I don't know that he would ever do it, but just saying he might has the Senate Democrats -- they've gotta be nervous as hell. They can't offend him and they can't do something that's going to cause him to switch and they're going to be walking on eggshells over this. Good move, good political move by Senator Lieberman.

END TRANSCRIPT

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