November 9th, 2008
02:49 PM ET
5 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. New Day

    I say, in the spirit of unity, we let bygones be bygones. Lieberman showing up at the RNC this year really pissed me off but, there are more important issues out there than this and we need all hands on deck. You guys talk about punishment; what's a bigger punishment than looking like a total jerk to an entire nation and then losing, anyway. I feel that "being a bigger person" is more in line with Obama's message

    November 9, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. KLEE

    Lieberman – I remain confused – I guess someone more versed in the political animal has to decide – I didn't like his remarks/smirks with the McCain/Palin ticket.....that was just a downer! Glad Obama one this election.

    November 9, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. Independent white female patriotic voter

    Joe Lieberman should retire, he no longer knows what he is or wants to do. Send him home!

    November 9, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. Farnk, Las Vegas

    LIEberman can stay a Democrat if he wants to, but NO Chairmanships! Should he wish to switch over and become a Republican, that's fine to! President Obama has a clear and very strong mandate fom the American people. The American people have spoken and to be honest, they really don't care what LIEberman does.

    November 9, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  5. MIchael

    If liberman has any dignity he would step down on his own from his chairmanship.

    However, considering that Liberman is a politician and all of them democrats, republicans, and independents under the right circumstances can sell their soul to devil as liberman did, I am a firm believer on justice and in this case LIbermann is guilty.

    he is not a man that can be trusted. As the campaign showed, liberman is a man (hero though he may be as some claim, some for which I can hardly find any reason why to listen to, as they clearly do not understand the meaning and the weight of the word HERO) of rumours, a hypocrite, and opportunist.

    Of course senators are in this for themselves and only fools can be fooled that liberman does something that others cannot do. Anyone can vote, anyone can use common sense, anyone can spend the time investigating, researching, and leading given the opportunity.

    Libermann does not deserve to be a chairmann to any commite.
    If libermann does not step down on his own, the democratic party must remove him, and than all will see who the real libermann is.

    If he starts voting against the democrats it is clear it would be because of anger and smear. If however libermann is as just as he likes to think of himself, than he would continue to vote the same way he has even though he would not be a chairman.

    but i am sure liberman knows how to suck the power tit.

    November 9, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  6. Buckster

    Take his chairmanship away, which he says is unacceptable to him and that will force him to change parties, which will send him where all other north eastern state congressional Republicans go (went) at the next election.

    November 9, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. Makkabee

    @ Democrats: Lieberman's oath was to the US constitution, not a party - he can support who he wants. That's not treason.

    @ Republicans: when you back a loser there's a price to pay. Why should Democrats vote Lieberman a chairmanship when he opposed their candidate? Those slots go to active supporters of the majority party, always have. The price of being an independent is not getting those positions. Suck up and deal.

    November 9, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. Ray, Calif

    Joe Lieberman spoke his mind and told people his convictions of his parties shortcomings. If the democrats punish Lieberman for his political view then are they even going to reach across the isle to reach out to republicans. If this is how they treat their own party members why should the Republicans even consider bipartisanship? I wish the best for Joe Lieberman but it does not appear his party is too progressive to the contrary.

    November 9, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  9. JACKED-UP-POLITICS, FLORIDA

    Lieberman changes his ideas just as quickly as the wind blows. Get him out of there. Lieberman is only concerned with pushing his own agenda and ideas. He is not We The People. More like Forget the People

    November 9, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. No Hillary = No Obama

    Land of the free and home of the brave, that is unless you aren't in lock-step with the system and speak independently. Then you'll be punished for crimes against the party. And that's why you see the ecomony in shambles, people losing their jobs and homes – because you have a group-think mentality in Washington run by a bunch of recycled partisans.

    November 9, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  11. avedis

    Lieberman needs to go. He confuses his priorities. His first priority should be the U.S. and not Israel. He is sneaky and tricky character that should not be trusted.

    November 9, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  12. Milhouse van Houten

    Maybe they can get"across the aisle Joe"a seat right in the middle of the aisle,maybe with his own party,"the Democans".

    November 9, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  13. K Michael

    Senator Lieberman must be removed from his Homeland Security Committee Chairmanship in the name of bi-partisanship, civility and unity. Senator Lieberman aided and promoted the 'palling around with terrorist', communist and socialist smears made by the McCain campaign. America voted for a new kind of politics and McCain cannot be rewarded for promoting the fear and division America is moving beyond. Democratic Senators must insure there is a cost for turning against the American people by promoting fear and division. If Lieberman wants to leave the Democratic Caucus, let him.

    November 9, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. Tony

    The problem with Lieberman chairing the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is that his policies regarding the war and Homeland Security, are at odds with the platform of the party in control of the Senate, The Democrats.

    He should continue on the committee, a vocal proponent of his position but for him to chair and set agenda is inappropriate.

    Or Senator Lieberman could take a chairmanship on a committee where his positions and the Democrat Party are in agreement.

    November 9, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. BM

    Joe is nothing but a traitor. Nothing wrong speaking at the convention, but to bash Obama is totally unacceptable. He is an old fart and must go!

    November 9, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  16. Greg in Albuquerque

    Harry Reid is an idiot. He and Nancy Pelosi will ruin the gov. I'm tired of them blaming Pres Bush for everything. It is truly ironic that people are saying Bush was the one and should be blamed for the bailout. Nancy and Harry along with Barney were up there striking the drum and bellowing for the bailout. I can only hope that Obama will put them in their places. Pelosi acts like she it the one running the country. If you want to get things fixed get rid of these two career idiots so that all parties can work to get America fixed.

    November 9, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  17. Enjoying life to the fullest! :)

    Lieberman, to me, is the kind of man who would board a lifeboat BEFORE all the women and children were gone. He has no cooth and should be reprimanded. That's how civility works. Some people could have used MORE reprimanding as a youngster. Maybe there would be more courtesy, unruliness, and common sense in the world these days.

    November 9, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  18. dave

    "right wing nutcase" is this the "change" that many have been programmed with? do as i say, not as i do.

    November 9, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  19. Rich from Pholly

    There is a difference between voting for what you believe in and more than actively supporting the other party's candidate while denigrating the candidate of your own party. Joe can vote for whoever he wants and do whatever he wants. However, he must be required to give up any leadership position he holds with the Democrats, including committe chairs. How can the party recognize Joe as one of its leaders after he spoke at the Republican convention and trashed Obama? Every night he was on TV with McCain tacitly supporting the bankrupt tax and social policies of McCain. Reid needs to say: sorry Joe, you can stay but no plums for you. Sen. reid–you will have no party behind you if there are no consequences for Joe's actions. He can be Joe the Senator but not Joe the majority chair of a committee.

    November 9, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  20. Bob

    "Let the republicrook party have Joe " turncoat, sleeze-ball ", Lieberman"

    I believe this quote pretty much sums up the Democrat of 2008, and the so-called "bipartisan" approach they keep yapping about.

    Lieberman was elected as an Independent, which means he can vote ANY WAY HE WANTS. I know that a lot of you people are just not that smart, and can't get past your little political angst, but Lieberman has done exactly what WE ALL SAY WE WANT OUR POLITICIANS TO DO–THINK FOR THEMSELVES AND GO WITH THEIR CONSCIENCE.

    I love you hypocrites that talk about bipartisanship, but when someone doesn't toe the party line (even when he's no longer in the party) you want to throw him under the bus.

    Almost half the country didn't vote for Obama. MORE THAN HALF are going to see what a disaster the next few years are going to be with Democrats in charge. Enjoy it while it lasts. Talk is cheap.

    November 9, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  21. sick n tired

    This guy is a piece of work! and so is Lieberman!

    November 9, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  22. Bob

    Another great quote from a Democrat: "to bash Obama is totally unacceptable".

    Hmmm...let me guess what's next. Anybody who doesn't agree with St. Barack is now going to be called a racist. Any problems that don't get fixed (and of course no one of them can be fixed in a single term, I'm sure) will be due NOT to a failure on the Dems part, but of COURSE how terrible the Republicans left it (ooops, there's that awkward truth about the last two years being a Democrat-controlled Congress, and that Democrats were the driving force behind the economic meltdown...ooops).

    Get ready for LOTS of criticism, folks.

    Oh, and by the way...has there EVER been a candidate who created the "Office of the President Elect" like Obama has? I'm sure an official seal will follow. It'll be interesting to see how an egomaniac performs as POTUS.

    November 9, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. Jon Cruz

    Harry Reid labeling Joe Lieberman "progressive" is an excellent example of why Harry Reid needs to be replaced.

    November 9, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  24. PCS / North Carolina

    Ray, Calif wrote November 9th, 2008 5:45 pm ET

    "Joe Lieberman spoke his mind and told people his convictions of his parties shortcomings. If the democrats punish Lieberman for his political view then are they even going to reach across the isle to reach out to republicans. If this is how they treat their own party members why should the Republicans even consider bipartisanship? I wish the best for Joe Lieberman but it does not appear his party is too progressive to the contrary."

    Joe L is an independent. So, he can align with anybody he wants. But he is caucusing with the Democrats and holds an important position as the chairman of the homeland security committee which is given to him by the democrats. After all that, IF HE BACK STABS THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENY , what would you expect. ?The TRAITOR should be expelled from the committee, who knows, he may have alignments with another country, not U.S.A.

    November 9, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  25. Pepou

    Yeah maybe he can pick up the trash ...

    November 9, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
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