Today in a closed-door meeting, Senate Democrats voted 42–13 to allow Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to keep his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, despite his attacks on Barack Obama during the campaign season. Shortly afterward, Senate Democrats held a press conference during which they stood by Lieberman and surrounded him with their support. Some highlights of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) remarks:
— “We’re looking forward, we’re not looking back.”
— “I understand anger. … I would defy anyone to be angrier than I was. But is this a time when we walk out of here and say, ‘Boy, did we get even?’”
— “I am satisfied with what we did today. I feel good about what we did today. I don’t apologize to anyone for what we did today.”
— “The question is, do I trust Senator Lieberman? The answer is yes, I trust Senator Lieberman.”
Watch the press conference:
TNR’s Jonathan Chait points to the historical precedent for punishing senators who endorse members of the opposing party.
,DNC chairman Howard Dean said he is “fine” with the Senate’s decision to keep Lieberman.
,Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) welcomed today’s news about Lieberman.
,Asked what it would mean if Lieberman kept his chairmanship, one Senate Democratic aide said bluntly: “The left has been foiled again. They can rant and rage but they still do not put the fear into folks to actually change their votes. Their influence would be in question.”
,Greg Sargent reports that Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY) reportedly “voted for the resolution condemning Lieberman but allowing him him to stay as Homeland Security chair.”