In article about Dem criticism of Lieberman, CNN.com did not report he broke RNC speech pledge

››› ››› TOM ALLISON

A CNN.com article reported that Sen. Joe Lieberman's speech at the Republican National Convention "is a sore point with his Democratic colleagues" because Lieberman "attacked Obama." But the article did not mention that the content of Lieberman's speech violated a pledge he had made not to "spend [his] time attacking Barack Obama" at the convention. The article also reported that Democrats "thought Lieberman had gone over the line when he said Obama had not reached across the aisle to work with Republicans," but not that they cited Obama's bipartisan legislative accomplishments to challenge the veracity of that assertion.

In a September 17 online article about Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-CT) September 2 speech at the Republican National Convention, CNN congressional producer Ted Barrett reported that the speech "is a sore point with his Democratic colleagues" because Lieberman "attacked Obama." But Barrett did not mention that Lieberman violated a pledge he had made not to "spend [his] time attacking Barack Obama" at the convention. Moreover, Barrett quoted Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs saying Lieberman "ought to be ashamed of himself for some of the things he said" and reported that "Democrats -- including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid -- also thought Lieberman had gone over the line when he said Obama had not reached across the aisle to work with Republicans," but did not note that both Gibbs and a spokesman for Reid said Lieberman misrepresented Obama's record of bipartisan accomplishment -- or that Lieberman had previously praised Obama for his work on bipartisan legislation.

In his speech, Lieberman said that "Sen. Barack Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man who I think can do great things for our country in the years ahead, but, my friends, eloquence is no substitute for a record, not in these tough times for America" and also that Obama "has not reached across party lines to get anything significant done, nor has he been willing to take on powerful interest groups in the Democratic Party." But as Greg Sargent documented on Talking Points Memo, on the August 3 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, Lieberman told host Tom Brokaw: "If Senator McCain feels that I can help his candidacy, which I think it's so important to elect him our next president, I will do it. But I assure you this, Tom, I'm not going to go to that convention, the Republican convention, and spend my time attacking Barack Obama. I'm going to go there really talking about why I support John McCain and why I hope a lot of other independents and Democrats will do that."

Barrett noted that Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said, "Joe Lieberman ought to be ashamed of himself for some of the things he said tonight, not as a Democrat but as an American," and also wrote: "Democrats -- including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also thought Lieberman had gone over the line when he said Obama had not reached across the aisle to work with Republicans." However, at no point did Barrett mention the rationale Gibbs and Reid provided for concluding that Lieberman "had gone over the line" -- that Lieberman had distorted Obama's record.

On the September 2 edition of CNN's Larry King Live, Gibbs called Lieberman's claim that Obama "has not reached across party lines to get anything significant done" a "big lie." After referencing several specific instances in which Obama "worked across party lines," Gibbs made the statement that Barrett quoted -- "So, you know, Joe Lieberman ought to be ashamed for himself for some of the things that he said tonight." From Larry King Live:

GIBBS: Well, Larry, I think I know why most people are cynical about politics is because they hear people -- they come on their television -- people like Joe Lieberman -- and I hate to say this, it's a tough word, but they flat out lie about Barack Obama.

The Joe Lieberman you heard tonight wasn't the same Joe Lieberman that called Barack Obama in 2006 and asked him desperately to come to Connecticut and campaign for him.

And you know, tonight the big lie that Senator Lieberman said which, I got to tell you, is just really disappointing to hear from anybody -- you know, he -- he said that Barack Obama didn't have a record of real accomplishment reaching across -- reaching across the party lines to get things done.

Barack Obama's reached across party lines to work with Dick Lugar of Indiana to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists. He's worked with Senator Tom Coburn to open up our budget process and to end no-bid contracts that dominated after Katrina hit New Orleans when the Bush administration was busy handing out contracts to their political contributors.

And he worked across party lines to make sure that lobbyists couldn't give senators gifts and hand out free meals like they've been doing for many, many years.

So, you know, Joe Lieberman ought to be ashamed for himself for some of the things that he said tonight, not as a Democrat but as an American. We expect you to go to up there -- you can say what you want. You can pick the person you want.

But you know what? I think he owes it to the American people to actually look into the camera and tell them the truth.

Similarly, when reached for comment by the Las Vegas Review-Journal in a September 4 article, Reid spokesman Jon Summers said: "It appeared as though Senator Lieberman chose to go out of his way to distort Sen. Obama's record of bipartisan achievement. ... The fact of the matter is Obama has worked with leaders on both sides of the aisle."

As Gibbs noted, Obama worked with Coburn on the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S.2590) -- often referred to as the Coburn-Obama bill. Lieberman was a co-sponsor of the bill. In addition, four of the 12 co-sponsors of Obama's bill (S.2125) to "promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo" -- which Lieberman also co-sponsored -- were Republicans: Sam Brownback (KS), Susan Collins (ME), Mike DeWine (OH), and James Inhofe (OK). Lieberman has also previously thanked Obama for co-sponsoring a bipartisan amendment to an ethics bill to "establish the Senate Office of Public Integrity," and for introducing a related bill. On the Senate floor on March 28, 2006, Lieberman stated: "I am proud to join with Senator Collins as a cosponsor of this amendment and also pleased that Senators [John] McCain and Obama have joined us as cosponsors of this amendment. ... Senator Obama has played a very important role in this debate on ethics reform, introduced a very strong enforcement proposal of his own, and his support of this amendment is very important to Senator Collins and me." McCain, whom Lieberman has endorsed, was also a co-sponsor of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act and thanked Obama for his work on the bill.

Gibbs also noted that Obama worked with Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) to produce the "Lugar-Obama proliferation and threat reduction initiative." The initiative, according to a joint press release by Lugar and Obama's Senate offices, "expands U.S. cooperation to destroy conventional weapons. It also expands the State Department's ability to detect and interdict weapons and materials of mass destruction."

From the CNN article:

Lieberman 's speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, is a sore point with his Democratic colleagues.

In his speech, Lieberman not only praised McCain but also attacked Obama, saying, "Sen. Barack Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man who I think can do great things for our country in the years ahead, but, my friends, eloquence is no substitute for a record, not in these tough times for America."

After his speech Obama adviser Robert Gibbs said, "Joe Lieberman ought to be ashamed of himself for some of the things he said tonight, not as a Democrat but as an American."

Democrats -- including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid -- also thought Lieberman had gone over the line when he said Obama had not reached across the aisle to work with Republicans.

The animosity between Lieberman and members of the Democratic Party over the Iraq War is not new.

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Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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