Democrats put on a show of unity this afternoon, claiming a special caucus on energy legislation was an emotional and inspirational success of the first proportion.
Though they seem to lack the votes for a carbon cap, party leaders emphasized the "inspirational" nature of their discussion, attempting to throw some momentum behind legislation that has so far lacked it.
"A number of senators said this was the best caucus they've ever attended," Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) said at a press conference after the meeting. "It was really very, very powerful. It was inspirational, quite frankly."
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who has made climate legislation his hallmark issue, said the meeting was one of the most successful he'd ever attended.
"This was without doubt one of the most motivating, energized, and even inspirational caucuses that I've been part of since I've been here in the Senate in 26 years," he said.
Added Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.): "The Senate Democratic caucus that I just attended was absolutely thrilling. And by that I mean it was an uprising of the rank and file members of the caucus speaking with passion and purpose in favor of enacting strong comprehensive energy independence legislation this year."
Nevertheless, Democrats did not mention the cap-and-trade portion of the bill, which has failed to attract the 60 votes necessary to pass.
When asked how Democrats would make good on the "polluter pays" mantra that leaders repeated throughout the press conference, Kerry spoke only generally.
"Well, I think you'll have to see what we come to the floor with, but
that's the principle that's going to guide us and that was uniform
within the caucus," he said.