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The Hill:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) will not attend the Democratic policy lunches in the Senate this month, the latest sign that he is moving away from the party after criticizing Barack Obama at the Republican National Convention.

"I think it's probably wise for me and for my colleagues in the Democratic caucus to dine somewhere else for the next few weeks," Lieberman said in an interview with The Hill.

That, my friends, is called damage control. Because we see what really happened, courtesy of the subscription-only Roll Call:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has decided that Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) — one of Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) top supporters — can no longer attend Democrats’ weekly caucus lunches or the biweekly chairmen’s lunches used to formulate policy, senior Democratic aides said Tuesday.

The decision comes in the wake of Lieberman’s attacks on Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at the GOP convention last week, and essentially formalizes a deal Reid and Lieberman had cut earlier this year under which Lieberman would not attend meetings that included discussions of sensitive campaign or political issues.

It's true Lieberman had voluntarily avoided the lunches for some time now, but now he has no choice in the matter. Lieberman may talk about "the next few weeks", but this thing is over. It's not quite booting him from the caucus, but getting ever closer. Meanwhile, Lieberman lost his legislative director.

Lieberman’s legislative director, Joe Goffman, announced his resignation Monday. Although Goffman gave no reason for his departure, Democratic aides familiar with his decision said once work was completed on Lieberman’s climate change bill, combined with Lieberman’s convention speech, Goffman felt that it was time to move on.

So while Lieberman acolytes like Marshall Whitman and Dan Gerstein may still be loyal to the guy, there are those within his circle that can no longer stomach (like his own constituents) what Joe has become.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 10:01 AM PDT.

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