Reid: Lieberman Has Always Been "Straight Forward"

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A forthcoming New York Times Magazine piece has made some waves surrounding the relationship between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Joe Lieberman--in it, Reid is quoted as saying Lieberman "double-crossed" him on health reform--and Reid responded to it today, releasing the following statement through his Senate office:

"Senator Lieberman and I have a very open and honest working relationship. On issues ranging from foreign policy to health care, even when we disagree, he has always been straight forward [sic] with me," Reid said in the statement.

"Straight forward" implies the exact opposite of what Reid reportedly said of Lieberman's health care dealings in Adam Nagourney's magazine piece, in which Reid is quoted as accusing Lieberman of blind-siding him with his opposition to the Medicare buy-in provision, according to unnamed sources' recollection.
"He double-crossed me...Let's not do what he wants. Let the bill just go down," Reid said after Lieberman announced his defection on "Face the Nation," according to Nagourney's sources--which seemed to support the idea, pushed by Democrats after Lieberman jumped ship on the Medicare buy-in provision, that Lieberman had gone back on a prior deal.

After that remark surfaced, Lieberman's office provided Politico with a letter Lieberman had sent three days before the "Face the Nation" appearance to Reid and Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mark Pryor (D-AK); in it, Lieberman expressed doubts and warned that he had "a feeling I will not be the only member of our caucus who will not want to see this Medicare buy-in proposal adopted"--seeming to suggest that Reid had been (or, perhaps, should have been) aware that Lieberman would oppose the provision, if not that he would announce that opposition on national TV. Nagourney reports that Reid had spoken with Lieberman two days before his "Face the Nation" appearance, which would have been a day after the letter was sent.

UPDATE: Lieberman issues his own statement, through his office:

I appreciate Senator Reid's statement in response to the comments attributed to him in the New York Times Magazine.  As Senator Reid indicated in his statement, he believes, as do I, that we have always been honest with each other and any suggestion otherwise is simply false and contrary to the truth.
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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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