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Obama, Bill Clinton Hoping Lieberman Will Stay A Democrat

President-elect Barack Obama has expressed support for keeping Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) in the Democratic Caucus, although it's unclear if Obama favors Lieberman  still remaining chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Obama served on Lieberman's committee during the last two years.

Huffington Post first reported today that Obama "has informed party officials that he wants Joe Lieberman to continue caucusing with the Democrats in the 111th Congress,' although the report added that it was "unclear whether Obama would be comfortable with Lieberman maintaining his current committee post."

Democratic insiders told The Crypt that Obama had spoken directly to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) about Lieberman, although Reid's office declined to comment on the nature of that conversation.

Josh Marshall over at is reporting that former President Bill Clinton "is making calls on Sen. Lieberman's behalf."

And Keith Olbermann on MSNBC said Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is seeking to strip Lieberman of his chairman's gavel.

Reid is under heavy pressure from some Senate Democrats and party faithful to punish Lieberman for his active support of Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz..) presidential run, including a speech at the Republican National Convention.

Reid met with Lieberman last week to discuss the situation, and he reportedly offered Lieberman the chairmanship of a lesser committee, such as Small Business, if he voluntarily stepped down from Homeland Security. Lieberman rejected that offer, suggesting he would quit the Democratic Caucus if that happened. Reid, in turn, warned his longtime colleague that he will put the matter to a secret vote of the Democratic Caucus next week if they can't reach an agreement first.

Senate Democratic sources acknowledged that Lieberman would probably win a secret vote if it were held today, but the netroots are putting on the full-court press to convince Democrats to vote to strip Lieberman of his chairmanship.


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