Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) may be moving even further to the right, ABC News reports. Lieberman told correspondent Jonathan Karl that he would probably support some Republican candidates in the 2010 election.
“I probably will support some Republican candidates for Congress or Senate in the election in 2010. I’m going to call them as I see them,” Lieberman said in an ABC News “Subway Series” interview aboard the U.S. Capitol Subway System.
“There’s a hard core of partisan, passionate, hardcore Republicans,” Lieberman said. “There’s a hard core of partisan Democrats on the other side. And in between is the larger group, which is people who really want to see the right thing done, or want something good done for this country and them — and that means, sometimes, the better choice is somebody who’s not a Democrat.”
ABC News has more details here.
Jim Manley, the spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told Talking Points Memo’s Eric Kleefeld that his boss is more concerned about the health care push then Lieberman’s latest quips.
“Senator Lieberman may call them as he see’s them, but for Senator Reid, the only thing that he is focused on right now is delivering on the president’s promise of comprehensive health care reform,” Manley said.
However, other Democrats are focusing like a laser in regards to Lieberman’s latest tilts toward the right.
One of the leading Senate Democrats on healthcare reform legislation fired a warning shot in Sen. Joe Lieberman’s direction yesterday, previewing the possible consequences of joining a GOP filibuster.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, told reporters that Lieberman (I-Conn.) ought to consider the benefits of his membership in the Democratic caucus before he decides how to vote on healthcare reform.
“[Lieberman] still wants to be a part of the Democratic Party although he is a registered independent. He wants to caucus with us and, of course, he enjoys his chairmanship of the [Homeland Security] committee because of the indulgence of the Democratic caucus. So, I’m sure all of those things will cross his mind before the final vote,” Harkin said in a conference call.
Meanwhile, Lieberman is also being targeted in a television ad which was commissioned by a group which considers itself “the
conservative alternative to the AARP,” and is claiming that Democrats want to strip Medicare.
From a press release released by the 60 Plus
Today, the 60 PlusAssociation released a new TV ad targeting Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.).
The ad features members of our Greatest Generation begging Sen. Lieberman not to cut Medicare to pay for health care reform. The :30 second TV ad will run in conjunction with a :60 second ad that began airing on Wednesday. See the ad at www.60plus.org or the Connecticut :30 second version at //www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3TTcbYggfg
“Seniors have already lost their social security COLA, now Senator Lieberman wants to cut their Medicare, too? It may be Halloween, but let’s stop Fright Night. Senator Lieberman should stand up to Senator Harry Reid and tell him ‘I won’t support any bill which cuts Medicare,'” said Jim Martin, President of 60 Plus.
Titled “Enough” the ad highlights seniors speaking in their own words to the fact that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid want to cut up to $500 billion from Medicare. This could mean life-saving drugs could be withheld and seniors could even be prevented from seeing their own doctors.
The ad ends with a senior stating “Don’t make us pay for health care reform by cutting Medicare. We’ve sacrificed enough.”
“Since it’s Halloween, Senator Lieberman should channel the Greatest American Hero or Superman defend our Greatest Generation and declare he will protect seniors by refusing to vote for any health care reform legislation which cuts Medicare,” continued Martin.
Medicare has been a touchy point in the health care debate: Democrats plan to decrease Medicare spending, but their health bills don’t specify reduced of benefits–just caps on payment rate increases and restructuring of payments, for instance, to incentivize quality over quantity in patient treatment. They’re quick to tell you that no one’s Medicare benefits will be cut by Democratic reforms. The AARP agrees.
Critics, meanwhile, say the rate-increase caps will end up reducing benefits anyway. PolitiFact says this point could potentially have merit.
The 60-Plus ad is now airing in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota–meaning they’ll be seen by constituents of some of the most critical swing senators on health reform: Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Ben Nelson (D-NE), and Kent Conrad (D-ND).
This video is from ABCNews.com, broadcast Oct. 30, 2009.
Download video via RawReplay.com
60 Plus Association ad, as featured on YouTube: