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."