Will Senate Dems Cut Lieberman Loose?

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This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," November 6, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST : And there is a saga unfolding on Capitol Hill tonight and it involves Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. The one-time Democratic vice-presidential nominee supported Senator McCain this year, and the feeling is that the Democratic leadership of the Senate is going to get even by stripping the senator of his chairmanship.

Now Senator Lieberman, you remember, was a Democrat until he lost the 2006 Democratic primary in Connecticut to Ned Lamont. Lieberman then ran as an independent and he won the general election, but he still caucused with the Senate Democrats.

But now they don't nee d him anymore. Democrats won't get their 60 votes in the Senate, but they will have enough that they can, well, once again take out their anger on the man who would have been their V.P.

Lieberman met on the Hill with Majority Leader Senator Reid today and had this to say afterwards.


SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (INDEPENDENT, CT): I want t o spend some time in the next few days thinking about what Senator Reid and I discussed and what my options are at this point, and he promised me that he would do the same, and we will continue these conversations.

But more broadly, let me just say a few words. As you all know, the people of Connecticut were good enough to re-elect me to the United States Senate in 2006 as an independent.

And so I have tried since then to view the decisions that I make here in the Senate not through a partisan lens, but rather from the perspective of what I believe is right and best for my country and my state.

We have just finished an historic election. As you know, I decided in that election that partisanship should take a back seat to doing what, in this case, I believed was best for our country.


HANNITY: Now meanwhile, Senator Reid also issued a statement saying, quote, "Today Senator Lieberman and I had the first of what I expect to be several conversations. No decisions have been made. And while I understand that Senator Lieberman has voted with the Democrats a majority of the time, his comments and actions have raised serious concerns among many in our caucus.

I expect to be additional discussions in the days to come and Senator Lieberman and I will speak to our caucus in two weeks to discuss further steps."

So will the Democrats cut Lieberman loose and does he still want to be associated with them anyway?

Joining us tonight is a member of the Democratic caucus, Indiana senator Evan Bayh.

Senator, good to see you. Welcome aboard. Glad you're back with us.

EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA SENATOR: Sean, it's good to be back.

Video: Watch Sean and Alan's interview with Evan Bayh

HANNITY: All right, now, I'd be very surprised if you support this. In other words, do you think if Joe Lieberman still wants to caucus with the Democrats, would you — do you think there should be retribution because he supported Senator McCain?

Do you think he should be punished and have his chairmanship stripped from him?

BAYH: No, I don't think there should be retribution, Sean. We have an opportunity to make a fresh start in this country. And I think reconciliation is in order, not revenge or retribution.


BAYH: Joe did say some things. Not his support of John McCain. I think everybody understands that supporting your friend is perfectly legitimate. He said some things that perhaps crossed the line in terms of questioning Senator Obama's, you know, patriotism or things like that.

And I think if Joe came before the caucus and said look, if I said some things that came as offensive, I'm sorry, but.


BAYH: . they were — you know heartfelt in my support of John McCain. I think we had to just let bygones be bygones. We're going to need him on healthcare and energy independence and education and a whole lot of other things.

So to answer your question directly, no, I don't think retribution or revenge is in the best interests of anyone.

HANNITY: It appears like it's on its way. Now I want to play for you a — this sort of all comes together from my standpoint because this is Senator Obama. This is on his victory speech the other night.

And I want t o play it and I want to follow it up with some issues involving his new chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. But let's watch what he said on election night.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL-ELECT: In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people, let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immature that has poisoned our politics for so long.


HANNITY: All right. Rahm Emanuel has been chosen as chief of staff. Let's go to the L.A. Times, July 5th, 2006, and it says, Emanuel's reputation for political ruthlessness has earned him the nickname "Rahmbo," an image reinforced by a legendary episode when he sent a dead fish to a pollster that he didn't like.

And also, let's go to the Chicago Tribune, 11-12-06, I'll tell you this, the Republicans may have a 72-hour program. But they have not seen the 22-month program. Since my kids are gone, I can it. They can, blank, themselves.

Now, when you put that together, they are going after Lieberman, they may strip him of his chairmanship, Rahm Emanuel to Republicans go blank yourself, sending dead fish to pollsters — does that seem to be in the spirit that Barack Obama was talking about the other night?

BAYH: Well, look, Sean, we all learn as we go along. And I think Rahm — he's certainly a colorful figure and you can be grateful for that in an era of homogenized politics and politicians.

HANNITY: But wait a minute, wait a minute. You would never say that, Senator. I know you pretty well. You would never say that.

BAYH: Well.

HANNITY: You would never in your whole life send a dead fish to anybody. We hear about bipartisanship from Senator Obama. This is the man, the man that sends dead fish to people and tells Republicans to go blank themselves, he's the chief of staff.

Why should I have any confidence that the radical Barack Obama isn't emerging very quickly?

BAYH: Well, a couple of things, Sean. First, just as I think we should have a spirit of forgiveness with regard to Joe Lieberman and reconcile and move forward, why don't we have that same spirit with regard to Rahm Emanuel and give him a chance?

He said some things that perhaps he regrets in the past. Let's move beyond that. And I should tell you, Sean, secondly, you're right, I wouldn't use language like that, but in all my personal.

HANNITY: You might send me a dead fish.

BAYH: In all — I wonder what kind of information the pollster gave him.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Hey, in fact, Senator, I'll give you Sean's address right after the show.

BAYH: Can I just say one thing, Alan?


BAYH: In all my personal dealings with Rahm, he has been sensible, very honorable, very straightforward. And Sean, you might be encouraged to know this.


BAYH: The one thing I worked personally with him on was — involved cutting property taxes for homeowners.


BAYH: So it was a very sensible, middle-class thing. So let's give him a chance just as we should give Joe Lieberman a chance.

COLMES: Let's forgive. By the way, Lindsey Graham said this was a great choice for Barack Obama, you know, a very good friend of John McCain.

Let me show you — getting back to Joe Lieberman for a second, Senator Bayh. And welcome once again to our show. It's good to see you.

BAYH: Thank you, Alan.

COLMES: Here is what Senator Lieberman said when he was in a tight primary race with Ned Lamont about his allegiance to the Democratic Party.

Let's take a look.


LIEBERMAN: I want Democrats to be back in the majority in Washington and elect a Democratic president in 2008.


COLMES: That's what he said then. But, of course, that's not exactly what he did. He didn't just support John McCain and vote for him. He was a key note speaker at the RNC, as you said, questioning the patriotism of Barack Obama when he implied Barack Obama didn't always put his country first.

I mean, doesn't Joe Lieberman have t o say I'm really sorry for those kinds of things before he is accepted back into the fold?

BAYH: Alan, I think we need to look at the whole context here. First, this is someone who votes with the majority of Democrats, a vast majority of the time, particularly on domestic issues.

Secondly, you know, John McCain has been his good friend for many years and I think we have to give him some allowance f or that. Now, he did say some things about Barack that I think crossed the line in this campaign. But if he's willing to step up and say look, if in the heat of the moment I said some things that were taken the wrong way, I'm sorry for that, let's all now work together and move on, I think we should do that.

We have a wonderful opportunity here rather than going back and seeing what someone said two years ago or six months ago, or whatever, to instead start anew addressing the new problems that affect your viewers. That's what we ought to be focusing on here.

COLMES: You know, it's not just one comment, though. Things like there's no room for strong on security Democrats. Things like that. Questioning Democrats ' stances on a number of issues, not just the war.

I mean doesn't that concern you? I'd like to see as many Democrats as possible in the Senate. It would be great if Joe Lieberman would be one of them. Don't you find some of those comments about what you stand for offensive?

BAYH: Well, Alan, I do think he went too far when he questioned Barack Obama's patriotism. I said so at the time. When he said he was for losing in Iraq, I just know that is not the case.

I think Joe Lieberman got caught up in the emotions of the moment and went too far. It's a human aspect that I think we all can relate to.

The important thing now is, the important thing now, Alan, is we're going to need his support on energy independence, on health care, on education, job creation, on a lot of things you and I care about.


BAYH: And we're going to prove that there is a place for Democrats who are strong on national security in the Democratic Party.

COLMES: All right. Well, I hope it all works out. It would be great if we could all come together.

Thank you very much, Senator, for being.

HANNITY: Kumbaya?

COLMES: You want to sing with me?



HANNITY: Hey, Senator Bayh, if you want my address, just — you know, mackerel would be fine. Salmon, I like salmon.

BAYH: We'll make sure it's fresh, not like the kind (INAUDIBLE).

HANNITY: Thank you, sir.

COLMES: I don't want to be the one opening his mail.

HANNITY: Appreciate it.

COLMES: Thanks for being with us.

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