November 6th, 2008
04:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Lieberman pondering 'options' after Reid meeting

Lieberman met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Thursday.
Lieberman met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman said Thursday he needs a few days to ponder "the options that I have before me" after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Lieberman did not explain what those options were when he made brief remarks to reporters, and Reid said afterward that no decisions have been made.

Watch: 'We must unite' Lieberman says

Lieberman, the Democratic Party's 2000 vice presidential nominee, supported Republican Sen. John McCain in Tuesday's presidential election. But after Democratic Sen. Barack Obama's victory over McCain, the Connecticut senator said it was time to unite behind the incoming president.

"I decided in that election that partisanship should take a back seat to doing what I believed was best for our country," he said. "But the election is over, and I completely agree with President-elect Obama that we must now unite to get the economy going again and keep the American people safe."

Lieberman's continued allegiance to the Democratic caucus has given the party a 51-49 majority in the Senate since 2006, and he holds the chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. But his support of McCain - and sometimes-harsh criticism of Obama - angered many of his colleagues.

Updated with Reid statement

When Obama returned to the Senate in June after clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, he pulled Lieberman into a corner of the Senate chamber for a lengthy and animated one-on-one conversation in full view but out of earshot of reporters.

Lieberman has been an outspoken supporter of the war in Iraq, backing the Bush administration at a time when the Democratic leadership in Congress has been trying to force an end to the widely unpopular conflict. He lost his home state's Democratic primary to an anti-war challenger in 2006, only to win a fourth Senate term as an independent.

Reid, D-Nevada, was reluctant to act against Lieberman when his control of the chamber relied on the Connecticut senator's vote. But a top aide to the majority leader told reporters in September, after Lieberman spoke to the Republican National Convention, that the caucus would "reassess the situation"
after the election.

With Democrats gaining at least five seats on Tuesday, Reid summoned Lieberman to discuss his future with the caucus. In a statement issued after the meeting, Reid said Thursday's meeting was "the first of what I expect to be several conversations."

"While I understand that Senator Lieberman has voted with Democrats a majority of the time, his comments and actions have raised serious concerns among many in our caucus," he said. "I expect there to be additional discussions in the days to come, and Senator Lieberman and I will speak to our
caucus in two weeks to discuss further steps."

Reid could move to strip Lieberman of his committee chairmanship or other committee seats. The full Democratic caucus would have to approve any action when it meets again in two weeks.

Lieberman said he had "a very good conversation" with Reid, but disclosed no details and took no questions.

"I want to spend some time in the next few days thinking about what Sen. Reid and I discussed and what my options are at this point," he said. "He promised me that he would do the same, and we will continue these conversations."


Filed under: Joe Lieberman
soundoff (259 Responses)
  1. Gina in Racine Wi

    They should kick him out.

    Period.

    The way he conducted himself during the Presidential Campaign.....and the derogatory things he said about Barack Obama should not go unnoticed or unpunished.

    He supported the Republican Candidate who holds very few Democratic views. And slammed the Democratic Candidate. It was appalling and should not be tolerated. We don't need him. We didn't need him on our side to elect Obama.....and we don't need him on our side now, either.

    They can have him.

    November 6, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. Chillywilly

    SHIRLEY "60", Using your logic, I guess we cant trust Obama because he followed J. Wright for 20 years and then changed his mind about the hate he was spewing. So does he still believe him or not? That means you can never trust him. Grow up idiot!!!

    November 6, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. Luap

    So much for a new era of Obama-inspired bi-partisanship. The Dems are going to run Lieberman out of town on a rail.

    November 6, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. Juan

    Get rid of the Benedick Arnold. He can never be trusted. You make your bed, then you have to sleep in it.

    November 6, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Mike the Independent from Ohio

    So much for unity, everyone on this board who is calling him a traitor is beyond the definition of a hypocrite. All this guy did was back who he thought was the right choice for President, and now he is a traitor because he did what he thought was right, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were once called traitors by the British, and today we call the patriots, FYI

    November 6, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. Bettye

    Kick Liberman to the curb with John McCain

    November 6, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. sue

    Lieberman left the democratic party and made himself an independent (a couple years back btw). I can understand why the democrats may want a democrat as the chair.

    November 6, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. Why So Partisan?

    Wait a minute–I thought everybody was sick of strict partisanship on The Hill... So why are you all calling for Lieberman's head because he had the conviction to cross party lines?

    If we had more Joe Lieberman's in the House and Senate maybe Congress would be able to get something done for once.

    And no single party is going to get us out of the hole we're in right now.

    November 6, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  9. KLEE

    Joe get off the fence and say which way you really want to go – then do it – no more flip/flop stuff. Now get down to business and really do something for this country and your new President.

    November 6, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  10. Susan

    BYE, JOE

    See you in 2012
    JOE-JOE 2012 (Plumber/Lie-berman)

    November 6, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. LMS

    His comments were so disrespectful! They do not fit with President Obama's diplomatic approach.

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. DonG

    Joe Liberman should take his rightful place with Joe the Plumber and Joe Six Pack on the backbench of the Senate. He attacked the Democratic nominee and stood squarely with the McCain/Palin vicious and personal attacks. You can't now say it ain't so Joe!

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. Colorado Bob

    Why do we insist on Republican or Democrat? He has been a strong, steady and consistent voice for years. To use a Football analogy: It's not whether you play offense or defense; we all play for the same team...USA.

    McCain/Lieberman ticket would have garnered more votes with good reason.

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Loops

    Joe went with the RED party because Obama was black and his hate overpowered his common sense.

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Deme

    With friends like that, you do't need enemies

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. justobserve

    If Liebermann thinks Republican's ideals fit him then he should join that party.He can't be Independent but join in one party to campaign against the other.

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. Peter of Oregon

    There was a correct way to support John McCain. It's not that Joe Lieberman supported Joe McCain that's at issue, it's how he did it, it's what he said at the RNC in openly criticizing President-elect Obama. The Republicans that supported Obama did so in the correct way and should expect no backlash from their party.

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. TruthNPerception

    The Obama victory is a sham. I know prostitutes who were forced to register by their black pimps and vote for Barack "angry blackman act" Obama. These prostitutes live in motels and don't even have a permanent residence. Our country is dupe by blacks in many facet of life thanks to the culture of forced open-mindedness. Respect should always be earned in my book. We are intimidated into going "along" w/ popular perceptions of the time. If you say anything negative about a black person these days you are labeled ignorant and racist even when it is the truth. Hip-hop culture is the popular culture of the present and heroes are made of gansta rappers such as snoop-dog and other hood rats who committed violent crimes in their past. Heroes are made of NFL football players like Ray Lewis who in all likelihood murdered someone in Atlanta years ago. We are afraid to acknowledge some negative truths about black these days because we are afraid of being labeled racist and ignorant. People have reasons to dislike blacks for some of the reasons I pointed out. Label me If you want.

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. Dana, Trenton, MI

    The dems need Joe more than he needs to keep seats, but if they don't want to say it out loud...

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. (Sunshine4U)

    To all of you who think Joe Liebermann did what was right, you had better think again. What Joe did is like befriending and taking an employee from another company, who's in opposition to the company Joe is employed with, and giving him all the confidential information about the other company. Joe has now been found out and his actions and have cost him his job. Well, the same should be the case in this election scenario. There's a price to pay for being disloyal and that price is termination with no benefits and no severance. You reap what you sow.

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. Brian

    I have no problem with Joe, and feel it is his every right to support who he wishes. Unity is not the problem. The problem was that he used the same slanderous lies to attack Obama that McCain and Palin were using. The same Republican talking points. If he wanted to argue on policy and plans and simply choose McCain, I feel he still deserves respect and I would have welcomed the disagreement. But he spewed those lies and misrepresentations and THAT is why I'd rather be done with him.

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. Independent and loving it - Minnesota

    Good. The way he acted was inexcusable. Talk about a sellout.

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. Marlene Lopin

    He should be asked to leave the party – we do not need disloyal people like him.

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. Marlene Lopin

    He should be asked to leave the party – we do not need disloyal people like him.

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. Why So Partisan?

    Wait a minute–I thought everybody was sick of strict partisanship on The Hill... So why are you all calling for Lieberman's head because he had the conviction to cross party lines?

    If we had more Joe Lieberman's in the House and Senate maybe Congress would be able to get something done for once.

    And I bet none of you were this angry when Jim Jeffords left the G.O.P.

    It's time to put all this aside for a few years...

    November 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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