November 9th, 2008
02:49 PM ET
10 years ago

Lieberman can still help Dems, Reid says

Harry Reid says it's up to the Democratic caucus to make any decision about Joe Lieberman's future.

Harry Reid says it's up to the Democratic caucus to make any decision about Joe Lieberman's future.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Sunday he's still trying to keep Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman within the Democratic caucus despite anger over Lieberman's support of Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

While he has opposed Democratic efforts to end the war in Iraq, "Joe Lieberman votes with me a lot more than a lot of my senators," Reid told CNN's "Late Edition."

"Joe Lieberman is not some right-wing nutcase," he said. "Joe Lieberman is one of the most progressive people ever to come from the state of Connecticut."

Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-independent, broke with the party over the war in Iraq and ran as an independent after losing the party's nomination in 2006. Since then, he has been the 51st vote that kept the Senate in Democratic hands.

Lieberman also was Al Gore's running mate on the 2000 Democratic ticket.

But this year, he was a fixture on the campaign trail with McCain - and now that Democrats have gained at least six seats in the chamber, Reid is under pressure from many Democrats to punish Lieberman for harsh criticism of Sen. Barack Obama in a speech at the Republican convention.

"Sen. Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man who can do great things for our country in the years ahead. But, my friends, eloquence is no substitute for a record," Lieberman said at the Republican convention in early September.

Lieberman charged that Obama had not reached across party lines to "get anything significant done" and said that the McCain-Palin ticket was "the real ticket for change."

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Filed under: Harry Reid • Joe Lieberman
soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. luvinman29

    Interesting. Not supporting the democratic nominee for President is not enough to warrant his removal. Please give me an example of what would be reason enough.

    November 9, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  2. George in TX

    Joe could be the president of Israel if he wants.

    November 9, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. Jack Fritscher

    BACK TO WHOSE BEDROOM? It's soooo nice that Arnold can get "back into his bedroom" which is ironic because I can't get back into my bedroom, and neither can my devoted same-sex partner of 30 years-because churches (mixing religionism and politics) voted against Marriage Equality with Prop 8.

    November 9, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  4. Praetorian

    Reid...shows clearly nothing has changed.
    In order to keep Leiberman's vote on the DEM side of the aisle–he's willing to risk leadership of one of the most critical committees.

    I have not problem with Leiberman being allowed to remain in the DEM caucus if he desires.

    I've got a big problem with him continuing to be Chairman of any commitee–when he is so clearly at odds with the President Elect–so much so he felt the need to step across the aisle and support the GOP candidate!!

    Harry Reid–do the right thing or be flooded with phone calls, emails, and (we pray) your constituents will soon send you home!!

    November 9, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. A Real American

    More spineless "leadership" from one of the worst Senate leaders in my lifetime.

    Elections have consequences. Endorsing the opposing party's candidate is one thing. Giving a speech at the opposing party's convention and campaigning for down-ticket candidates of the opposing party– at the expense of your own party's ticket– is quite another.

    Let's toss this quisling out of the tent. He's earned nothing less.

    November 9, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Semper Fi

    Joe, dump the Dems like they dumpted you last election. You do not fit their marxist agenda.

    November 9, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. It is what it is

    Yeah, he can help the Dems, by LEAVING! TURNCOAT!!!!

    November 9, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. robert l gray


    November 9, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Ted in Oregon

    Reid should tell him: "Here is our offer: NOTHING! You are welcome to stay in our caucus under our terms, but if you don't like that, don't let the door hit you in the a$$ on your way out." In regard to his vote, we could never really count on it anyway. Besides, I believe that we could pick up Snowe's and Collins' votes enough of the time to make up for his. Lieberman is not in any position to demand concessions from the Democrats. He'll never be reelected anyway.

    November 9, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. Steve, New York, New York

    Joe Lieberman is an INSULT to anyone with a brain – the guy was the 2000 Democratic VP candidate (perhaps made the difference for Al Gore not getting elected), and then he goes around "trashing" the 2008 candidate of the party, with which he supposedly continues to caucus.

    I am really sick of this guy, and I wish he would leave Washington (had Al Gore picked Russ Feingold as his running mate, back in 2000, Bush # 43 would have never been elected)!

    November 9, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Sean the thinker

    Joe Lieberman should lose his comittee chairmanship position. Not because he supported John McCain on certain political positions (Iraq e.g.), but he went a step further when he criticized Barack Obama at he Republican national convention. Just looking at the perception his speech created alone speak volumes about his trust and loyalty

    November 9, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Harry and Nancy need to get their act together. Stop the childish games!

    November 9, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  13. Carrie Pa

    Now that Obama is elected. Harry and Nancy need to get their act together. Stop the childish games!

    November 9, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. Michael

    There are more points that have not been stated:
    1: Joe kept his seniority after changing to Independent because the Democrats allowed him to caucus with them and allowed him to keep his seniority.
    2: Joe was given a Democratic Chairmanship because he was going to vote with the Democrats as a part of the caucus.
    3: Joe was ineffective in his Chairmanship in the Senate- unlike his House counterpart in investigating the Bush administration.
    4: Joe campaigned with McCain and attacked Obama which he said he would not do.
    5: Joe campaigned against downballot Democrats stating 60 would damage the Nation.
    If that is not enough to remove him from the Democratic caucus- turn the scenario around and think about it. I have added my name to the petition to the Democratic caucus telling them to remove Joe. It is not a partisan attack- it is about doing the right thing. I know that CT will do the right thing next time Joe is up for re-election. Look at how many Republican Congressmen are in NE now- 0- once a bastion of the GOP.

    November 9, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. Onslow

    I think Senator Lieberman should tell Harry Reid to go stick it! If backing a proven leader instead of a wet behind the ears radical makes him unfit for his chairmanship,then he should take McConnell's offer and caucus with Republicans!

    November 9, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. Frank G

    Time for Joe to call it a day.....and a career

    Good luck to Obama

    November 9, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. Elizabeth from Dallas

    Very tough call. Loyalty isn't the most important character trait at the end of the day – good judgement, honesty and generosity trump it – but Lieberman went out and actively, aggressively and mean-spiritedly worked to defeat the party that stands for the principles he supposedly believes in for the narrowest of reasons. It will be hard to respect anything that comes from that man in the future.

    November 9, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. A Senior Southern Lady - NC

    Senator Lieberman crossed the line during the campaign. He campaigned with and for the opposition candidate and criticized Obama. It is necessary to show a spirit of cooperation but when a senator from your own party throws his support behind the other candidate, he has crossed the line. He should be removed from any position of authority in the Democratic party and should not be privy to any information except the most mundane. The Republicans can have him!!!

    November 9, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  19. Mark

    If you cross Reed he and the other will cast you out of the party. How is this change? I dont see any positive change coming for the Dems.
    What a shame. If you stand uo to them you are finished.


    November 9, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  20. Vic

    If Harry Reid should "punish" Joe Lieberman for his backing of John McCain, he will be the first to throw out the hopeful working together in a non-partisan manner. And as far as retribution for remarks in a political race, look at all the negatives Joe Biden pointed out about Barack Obama during their primary races. Also, the Obama and vice versa attacks of the Clintons. That's a weak sister it seems, and hopefully Liebermann will continue in his position of cooperating with the Democrats.

    November 9, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  21. Dave, Central Illinois

    So much for unifying the country. I don't hear Republicans calling for the outing of Hagel. Hey, go for it Dems! Please eat your own and please push a radical left agenda. Then, it will be 1994 all over again. Old fart Dems like Reid and Pelossi just can't help themselves.

    November 9, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  22. Dyan

    When he choose to run as an "independent", Lieberman gave up his seniority status as a Democrat. And when he choose to actively campaign not only for McCain but for other Republicans, he picked what side he wanted to work with.

    Now it's time for Lieberman to live with the consequences of his choices.

    November 9, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  23. Rose

    Reid needs to get a grip, first he was ready to dump him from his position and now maybe it will be okay, Reid wants his vote and that is all he cares about. I hope Lieberman tells him to put is committee where the sun don't shine. Reid is worthless, all he wants is the magic number of 60 and he will do and say anthing to get it.

    November 9, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. LieberSelf

    Lieberman is playing both sides. He was hoping McCain would win so he could serve in the cabinet. Didn't work out. He made his choice, and Dems should make theirs. It's time to quit kissing his patootie.

    Reid is such a weakling. Instead of making excuses to do nothing, he should acknowledge that how any senator votes is up to that senator. If Lieberman wants to side with dems he can, but dems don't trust him and don't want him in their caucus.

    November 9, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  25. cataclysmo

    It's it time for President-elect Obama to tell people like Harry Reid to stop the BS and quit the name calling? Didn't he run on the unity thing? Why is it okay to call people right-wing nutcases? I am really sick of this. The people gave Obama the chance to lead, live up to your word Mr. President-elect. Call out these hate mongers in your own party and start the healing. Harry Reid needs to be taken to the woodshed and told to respect his opponents even if he doesn't agree with them. It is really pathetic to be in such a leadership position and to talk smack about your opponents. Really small Harry, really small.

    November 9, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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