"On Morning Joe today, Joe Lieberman called me "sweetheart" ... do you really think he meant it??" tweeted Arianna Huffington this morning. Lighthearted, affectionate banter, perhaps? Not quite.

The day after announcing his retirement, Lieberman was subject to tough questioning by Huffington on his continued claim that there was evidence that Saddam Hussein was working on WMDs to justify going to war. He helpfully spelled "Duelfer" for her in pointing her to a report that said that Hussein wanted to work on WMDs.

"Based on these unfounded assumptions, I sincerely hope for the sake of our country that you do not become Secretary of Defense," she replied.

He told her to read the report, and she responded that there was nothing that proved his assertions in the report.

"I don't think you've read it, sweetheart," he said.

The condescending term and its even more condescending context was sadly unsurprising — our president used "sweetie" dismissively to talk to a reporter in Michigan back in '08. What was surprising was how rankled Joe Scarborough was by it.

After the commercial break, it was Scarborough who brought up, in evident disbelief, that a U.S. senator had called Huffington "sweetheart," and who noticed Lieberman spelling the name of the report. Huffington seemed less interested in probing it. Maybe Scarborough has been doing some critical thinking on how men address women in a political context?

Earlier: Mika Brzezinski Denies She's Being Silenced On Morning Joe