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Details on the Night Obama Backed Lieberman in 2006

Jun 11, 2008 | Updated May 25, 2011

In case you have any doubts about an earlier Huff Post link today about Barack Obama being asked by (a now) ungrateful Joe Lieberman's team in 2006 to helped save the senator's re-election bid: It's all true, and then some.

Lieberman happily trumpeted that key endorsement from Obama in his 2006 race for the U.S. Senate - support that for quite awhile hurt the Illinois senator's standing with antiwar and liberal activists.

I first wrote about this here two months ago, after Lieberman was asked (in a now generally overlooked incident) on the Brian and Judge radio show, if Obama was a Marxist. Lieberman replied, "I must say, that's a good question... I will tell you that during this campaign, I've learned some things about him, about the kind of environment from which he came ideologically. And I wouldn't...I'd hesitate to say he's a Marxist, but he's got some positions that are far to the left of me and I think mainstream America."

Yet, just a little more than two years earlier, Lieberman, facing a strong threat from antiwar candidate Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary, invited Obama to give a major speech in Connecticut endorsing him for re-election -- which some liberals there still hold against Obama.

"I am absolutely certain Connecticut is going to have the good sense to send Joe Lieberman back to the U.S. Senate so he can continue to serve on our behalf," Obama proclaimed then.

An AP story in late March 2006 on the event noted that "Lieberman became Obama's mentor when Obama was sworn into the Senate in 2005. They stayed close at Thursday night's event, too, entering the room together and working the crowd in tandem."

However, "scattered boos greeted Lieberman when he took the podium, and he had to stop three times during his remarks to shush the crowd so he could deliver key points."

So clearly Obama had stuck his neck way, way for Lieberman. But Lieberman may still be smarting from Obama's decision, at the very end of the 2006 race, to endorse Lamont, who had won the primary, over Lieberman. The latter ran as a third party candidate (and won). Even so, some liberals felt Obama could have done more for Lamont.

And for all this, Lieberman rewards Obama with public hints that there may be something to "Muslim" and "Marxist" rumors. Say it ain't so, Joe. Or better yet, just go away.
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Greg Mitchell's new book is So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Failed on Iraq. He is editor of Editor & Publisher.