Liberal blogger targets Lieberman's wife
By Garance Franke-Ruta
As a measure of just how impassioned the health-care reform debate has become as it heads into the critical pre-Christmas stretch, consider this: Blogger and liberal activist Jane Hamsher has launched a drive to boot Sen. Joe Lieberman's wife from her role as an international spokesperson for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the breast cancer charity that organizes the annual Race for the Cure fundraising run.
Hamsher sent a letter to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure on Friday calling for Hadassah Lieberman's ouster and expressing "great concern" over her "counterproductive" role as a global ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
"As Hadassah travels the globe under the banner of Susan G. Komen for the cure, decrying the inadequacies of our health care system and the desperate need to reform it, her husband is at home to kill the reform efforts we so desperately need," wrote Hamsher. "As a three time breast cancer survivor, I call on Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Komen Foundation to ask Hadassah Lieberman to step down as a 'Global Ambassador' for the organization in light of the inherent conflict of interest her continued presence brings."
On Monday, Hamsher stepped up the pressure with a petition drive against Lieberman and called on celebrities affiliated with Susan G. Komen, such as Ellen DeGeneres, Andie MacDowell and Christie Brinkley, to exert pressure on the organization to end any paid contractual relationship with her.
Lieberman received more than $1,000 from the group in 2008, according to personal financial disclosure forms filed with the Senate by her husband. She works for Susan G. Komen for the Cure as a consultant on international outreach matters and as a ceremonial unpaid global ambassador, said Sean Tuffnell, a senior communications adviser for the group, which he said has no intention of bowing to Hamsher's pressure.
"We have every intention of continuing our relationship with Ms. Lieberman in our mutual pursuit of a world without breast cancer," Tuffnell said.
Hamsher, a former Hollywood producer who founded the Firedoglake blog network and political action committee, has long been one of Sen. Lieberman's fiercest critics on the left and blogged against him in 2006 during his contentious primary with Democratic opponent Ned Lamont. After losing to Lamont, Lieberman left the Democratic Party and won reelection as an independent, though he still often caucuses with Democrats.
Over the weekend, Lieberman made clear that he does not support the Medicare buy-in being considered for the Senate health-care bill as an alternative to the limited public option included in the House version, and he threatened to filibuster the bill if that provision for expanding Medicare to those between 55 and 64 were not removed.
"It is widely known ... that not only has Senator Lieberman been an instrument of obstruction to the kind of health care reform advocated by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, but that Mrs. Lieberman
is also a former lobbyist worked for the lobbying firm APCO Associates, which represents the interests of the same major, private health insurance and pharmaceutical companies which Mr. Lieberman seeks to protect," Hamsher wrote on her blog.
Sen. Lieberman's office said Hamsher had it wrong, as the strike-through above indicates.
"It is a sad day when a false guilt by association smear of a spouse of a public official by a notorious political operative and blogger is given so-called legitimacy in the press," said Lieberman's communications director, Marshall Wittmann. "For the record, Mrs. Lieberman is not now nor has ever been a lobbyist. These McCarthyite tactics are unfortunate and contribute to the poisoning of our public discourse."
December 14, 2009; 3:32 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Daily Dose , Health Care
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