If President Obama were to pick retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., as his next Defense secretary, a tiff on Morning Joe today might be a harbinger of battles with the left to come.
Lieberman faced questions from Arianna Huffington, another guest on the show, over speculation that he’s next in line for Defense secretary.
"I sincerely hope for the sake of the country that you do not become secretary of Defense," she snapped to him after a heated discussion about the Iraq war.
Lieberman, who stood by his vote for the war, argued that Saddam Hussein was "threatening the stability of the entire region" and that there was clear evidence he was working on weapons of mass destruction.
Huffington jumped on that point and argued that even former President Bush has "now accepted that there had been no evidence."
Lieberman cited the Duelfer Report findings, saying, "I think that the evidence is clear that if we did not do what we did, that Saddam Hussein would today have at least chemical and biological weapons and have a nuclear program."
Huffington responded that those claims were unfounded; Lieberman said she should read the report. The dust-up between the two ended when Huffington sharply wished Lieberman luck in the next year.
For his part, Lieberman wouldn’t speculate much on his own future.
"I do want to stay involved one way or the other in public service, part-time or full-time," he said, "because that's been my life and the causes I believe in are causes I'm not going to drop just because I'm not a senator anymore."
After Lieberman's announcement Wednesday that he will not run for reelection in 2012, his colleague, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told CNN that the administration should consider the Connecticut Democrat for the soon-to-be-empty Defense secretary post.
Lieberman said he was honored at McCain's recommendation, "but I'm not expecting anything. I'm not asking for anything," he added. "I'm just focused now on trying to finish these two years in the Senate and be a bridge-builder and try to get some things done that the country needs done, particularly to cut the debt."