The Associated Press labeled Joe Lieberman as the "Democrats' public enemy No. 1" in an astoundingly one sided attack over the weekend in response to critical remarks the former Democrat Senator made about Barack Obama while campaigning for John McCain.
The first four paragraphs of the report were dedicated to an all out character assassination that chided Lieberman for straying from the Democrats in a betrayal that is ominously close to transforming him into "an attack dog for Republicans."
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Joe Lieberman is fast becoming the Democrats' public enemy No. 1.
The four-term Connecticut senator, who came tantalizingly close to being Al Gore's vice president in 2000, not only has been campaigning for his pal, presumed Republican nominee John McCain, now he's publicly criticizing the Democrats' standard-bearer, Barack Obama. Lieberman has strayed before, most notably switching from Democrat to independent in 2006 to hold onto his Senate seat after a Democratic primary loss.
But the latest betrayal has upset Democrats, who often answer in clipped but polite tones when asked about Lieberman. The reason: The independent still caucuses with the Democrats on most issues except the Iraq war, and he holds their slim political majority in his hands.
"There's a commonly held hope that he's not going to be transformed into an attack dog for Republicans," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., an Obama supporter.
What could possibly have set off the attack? Simple, Joe Lieberman crossed the line by getting specific in his critique of Barack Obama on the issues of terrorism and foreign policy concerning Iran, Iraq and Israel.
"If Israel is in danger today, it's not because of American foreign policy, which has been strongly supportive of Israel in every way," he said. "It is not because of what we have done in Iraq. It is because Iran is a fanatical terrorist, expansionist state."
This is considered "breaking new ground" and "shifting gears" according to the Associated Press because Joe Lieberman has apparently moved away from simply promoting John McCain to actually giving reasons why he supports John McCain. Imagine.
It appears to have upset someone so much that Lieberman's remarks are being framed as an uncivil attack; crossing the line by getting specific.
The report concluded with a thinly veiled warning to Joe Lieberman: stop attacking Barack Obama unless you want payback in the fall if the dems pick up some likely seats in the Senate:
There is speculation that if Democrats bolster their Senate majority this fall, they could seek payback by stripping Lieberman of his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairmanship.
While there's no serious talk afoot about punishing Lieberman, Kerry said, "I can't tell you what happens next year."
As warnings go this one seems pretty blatant. But then again, this is just "speculation".
Terry Trippany is the editor of Webloggin.