(CNN) - Democrat-turned-independent Joe Lieberman, one of John McCain’s biggest Senate supporters, congratulated Barack Obama Wednesday on winning the presidential election.
"I sincerely congratulate President-elect Obama for his historic and impressive victory,” he said in a statement released by his Senate office. “America remains a nation of extraordinary opportunity and the American people are a people of extraordinary fairness.
“Now that the election is over, it is time to put partisan considerations aside and come together as a nation to solve the difficult challenges we face and make our blessed land stronger and safer. I pledge to work with President-elect Obama and his incoming Administration in their efforts to reinvigorate our economy and keep our nation secure and free."
The statement comes hours after a senior Democratic leadership aide told CNN that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is planning to meet with the Connecticut senator to discuss the future of his committee chairmanship. The aide said that Reid had not yet made a final decision on the question of whether Lieberman will continue to chair the Senate’ Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Lieberman, who caucuses with the Democrats, alienated many within the party this cycle for his comments on the campaign trail questioning Obama’s judgment and patriotism. Shortly before he spoke at the Republican convention — where he repeated a GOP talking point that Obama had voted to “cut off funding for our troops on the ground” in Iraq - Lieberman suggested to the crowd at a McCain campaign event that the Illinois senator did not “put the country first.”
Last month, he told an interviewer that Republican criticism of Obama for his relationship with his former minister Jeremiah Wright and former radical Bill Ayers was fair because “one of the things you want to know is who have they associated with, because it may help you know who they'll listen to when they get into office."
But about two weeks ago, Lieberman’s tone seemed to shift, as he offered praise for his former party’s presidential nominee.
"When I go out, I say, 'I have a lot of respect for Sen. Obama. He's bright. He's eloquent.' Someday, I might even support him for president," he told Connecticut reporters, according to a report in the Hartford Courant. "But now in the midst of this series of crises, John McCain is simply so much better prepared that that's who I am proud to support." He added that if McCain’s presidential bid were to fall short, he would do everything he could to bring people "together across party lines to support the new president so he can succeed."