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Bayh: Democrats ‘Should Have a Spirit Of Forgiveness With Regard To Joe Lieberman’

By Satyam Khanna on November 7, 2008 at 1:01 pm

"Bayh: Democrats ‘Should Have a Spirit Of Forgiveness With Regard To Joe Lieberman’"

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Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) met with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to discuss Lieberman’s future in the Democratic party. An aide said Reid was leaning toward removing Lieberman as chair of the Homeland Security Committee.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) has taken on a more forgiving approach. Interviewed on Fox News yesterday, Bayh said he disagreed with stripping Lieberman of his chair. “No, I don’t think there should be retribution,” he said. “I think reconciliation is in order, not revenge or retribution.” Bayh suggested that Lieberman apologize and “let bygones be bygones”:

BAYH: 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 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.

Bayh said Lieberman may have “perhaps crossed the line” in questioning Obama’s patriotism. But he maintained, “I think everybody understands that supporting your friend [McCain] is perfectly legitimate” and that “we should have a spirit of forgiveness with regard to Joe Lieberman and reconcile and move forward.” Presented with some of Lieberman’s more notorious comments, Bayh countered, saying Lieberman “votes with the majority of Democrats, a vast majority of the time.”

“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,” Bayh stated. Watch it:

The New York Times reported that “some Senate Democrats and aides say it is unthinkable to let Mr. Lieberman head a committee that will conduct oversight of the Obama administration,” given his ad hominem attacks on Obama during the campaign. An anonymous Lieberman aide said losing the chairmanship would be “unacceptable.”

Bayh concluded that Lieberman is “strong on national security.” “And we’re going to prove that there is a place for Democrats who are strong on national security in the Democratic Party,” he said.

Update

Reid spokesperson Jim Manley outlines the next steps: “If Senator Reid and Lieberman don’t reach an agreement, his future chairmanship may be put to a vote by the caucus as a whole on November 18th.

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