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Joe Lieberman says Obama didn't support a public option during the campaign

"If you look at the campaign last year, presidential, you can’t find a mention of public option,” Joe Lieberman said. “It was added after the election as a part of what we normally consider health insurance reform." That's not true, of course. Much like Lieberman's belief that the public option will increase the deficit, which has been rejected by the CBO, and has never been explained by Lieberman (requests to his office for comment or clarification were not returned).

But why go to all this trouble? Lieberman doesn't have to support the public option. He can oppose it on philosophical grounds, or on personal principles. Instead, he keeps raising verifiably untrue objections. It's baffling.

By Ezra Klein  |  November 19, 2009; 3:31 PM ET
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I suspect he's flailing about for a justification because the real reason for his stance-- it pisses off liberals-- isn't something he can just come out and admit, perhaps even to himself.

Posted by: adamiani | November 19, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

There's a reason for the "Lying Lieb" nickname. Joe just can't open his mouth without lying. I suspect if someone researched his entire congressional career we'd find that this isn't something that just popped up with the Iraq War. He's too much of a serial, habitual liar for it to be something recent.

Joe basically thinks that he won't be called on them, and even if he is, there will be no fallout from them. He just keeps marching ahead.

It's probably the reason he gets along so well with McCain. They are two peas in a pod when it comes to lying.

And Ezra: it's okay to use the word "Lie". Things "That's not true" amd "verifiably untrue" are how Joe gets away with it. Not enough people in the MSM use the word Lie with Joe that it sticks.

No need for you to be nice to him by letting him off easy. Your career doesn't hinge on being able to interview him in a month.


Posted by: toshiaki | November 19, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Did you hear Lieberman on NPR last p.m.? He said he was voting against cloture...but as for swaying him, he was willing to debate the pros and cons of a public option.

Gee, that's funny. I was pretty sure that voting against cloture meant voting against floor debate.

Posted by: Bertilak | November 19, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

he keeps raising verifiably untrue objections....

That's just his way of letting people know not to waste their time with rational reality-based arguments. If someone insists that the sky is down, you're not going to spend a lot of time pointing out that it is slightly less down than what he's claiming.

Posted by: PhD9 | November 19, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

What's so hard to understand? You can't spell Lieberman without l-i-e.

Posted by: redwards95 | November 19, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Angling for media attention? If he votes for cloture in the end, my money's on that. He's not asking for remotely possible concessions, so he can't be actually negotiating, like Snowe or Nelson.

He could also be angling for support within the republicans, and is feeling out his chances on either party. Maybe he's getting signals he's going to face steep primary opposition. Say he votes against cloture/reform, switches parties and hopes to ride a republican crest in the midterms.

Either one of those are much more probable than "Lieberman is a pathological liar."

Posted by: Asherlc | November 19, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

You know what, Joe? Stabbing Democrats in the back in 2008 means not getting to say a damn thing about how they campaigned. Sit down and shut up.

Posted by: csdiego | November 19, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with the first poster. Lieberman is pissed at the liberals and wants to cause trouble for them (us). Not a motivation he can really admit to publicly, so he lies.

Posted by: jnfr | November 19, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Joe has to lie to maintain his credibility with the GOP and the Beltway press. Speaking the truth reeks of DFHism.

Posted by: callingalltoasters | November 19, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it has something to do with all those health insurance companies that are headquartered in CT....someone should probably look into how much they've contributed to his campaigns

Posted by: nickgp1 | November 19, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he was just thinking about Obama's flip flop on the individual mandate. Or Obama's flip flop that health care reform will add no new taxes for individuals making under $250,000. There's so many Obama flip-flops, it's easy to think that everything he says is a reversal of his previous position.

Posted by: Policywonky | November 20, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Come on, Ezra, seriously? In an age of video and media galore, you can't back-up your claim by sharing links to multiple videos, his campaign website stating this, multiple quotes?

The ONLY evidence you have includes two obscurities from a super liberal newspaper, one of which has no date, and the other of which is dated well before he was officially the Democratic candidate and everyone was really paying close attention to his message.

Come on, Ezra, really?

Posted by: Jodigirl | November 22, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

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