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  Obama wants Lieberman to stay with Senate Dems
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ContributorBrandonius Maximus 
Last EditedBrandonius Maximus  Nov 11, 2008 04:16pm
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MediaWebsite - Yahoo News
News DateTuesday, November 11, 2008 10:15:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionWASHINGTON – President-elect Obama has told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid he's not interested in seeing the Democrats oust Connecticut's Joe Lieberman from their ranks over his endorsement of Republican John McCain.

Obama told Reid in a phone conversation last week that expelling Lieberman from the Democratic caucus would hurt the message of bipartisanship and unity that he wants for his new administration, a Senate Democratic aide said Tuesday. This aide spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were confidential.

The caucus is the meeting of all Senate Democrats and at the beginning of each Congress it chooses the body's leaders. Lieberman, a longtime Democrat mostly recently re-elected as an independent, has continued to join the Democratic caucus.

In the last Congress his presence was essential to the Democrats' control of the Senate because he gave them a 51-49 edge over Republicans. But Democrats expanded their majority last Tuesday and no longer need Lieberman to control the chamber, though his vote still could be crucial in votes to end filibusters.

Obama says he won't get involved in the fight on Capitol Hill over whether Democrats should take away Lieberman's chairmanship of a key committee to punish him for backing his close friend McCain for president.

"We aren't going to referee decisions about who should or should not be a committee chair," Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said in a statement Tuesday. "President-elect Obama looks forward to working with anyone to move the country forward. We'd be happy to have Sen. Lieberman caucus with the Democrats. We don't hold any grudges."
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