Senate Democratic insiders are speculating whether President-elect Barack Obama can save Sen. Joe Lieberman's (ID-Conn.) job as chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, or will Obama duck the issue.
Lieberman has been threatened by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) with losing his gavel because rank-and-file Senate Democrats are furious over Lieberman's support for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) presidential candidacy, including an speech on McCain's behalf at the Republican National Convention.
In a 45-minute meeting on Thursday, Reid told Lieberman that he could lose control of his panel, although he did not say it was a done deal, according to Senate sources. Lieberman is mounting a campaign to save his job, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is already wooing Lieberman to join the Republican Conference, which could change the calculus for Reid and the Democratic leadership in how tough they want to be with Lieberman.
Now some Senate insiders are speculating that Obama could save Lieberman's job by issuing a statement saying he "forgives Joe" and that everyone needs to work together for the good of the country.
"It would give Reid some [political] cover and let him do what he wan'ts to do," said an aide to one top Senate Democrat, meaning Reid doesn't want to take action against Lieberman.
So Democrats will be watching Obama's upcoming press conference to see if he's asked a question on Lieberman and what response he has to that question.