November 14th, 2008
06:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Leahy says Lieberman should lose committee chairmanship

 Sen. Patrick Leahy took a hard line on Lieberman Friday.
Sen. Patrick Leahy took a hard line on Lieberman Friday.

(CNN) – A senior Democratic senator has gone on the record saying Joe Lieberman should lose his committee chairmanship when the party's full Senate caucus votes on the issue next week.

"Every senator will have to vote the way he or she believes they should," Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Vermont Public Radio Friday. "I'm one who does not feel that somebody should be rewarded with a major chairmanship after doing what he did.

“I felt some of the attacks that he was involved in against Senator Obama...went way beyond the pale. I thought they were not fair, I thought they were not legitimate, I thought they perpetuated some of these horrible myths that were being run about Senator Obama.

"I would feel that had I done something similar," he added, "that I would not be chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the next Congress.”

Earlier this week, Barack Obama reportedly said he held "no grudges" against Lieberman, who endorsed Republican Sen. John McCain’s presidential bid. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had avoided taking any public position on whether the Democrat-turned-independent should lose his chairmanship, but sources told CNN the Senate’s top Democrat had offered Lieberman leadership of a less powerful committee – a proposal the Connecticut senator rejected.


Filed under: Joe Lieberman • Pat Leahy
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. Frantz

    I agree with Senator Leahy, I am all the way for bipartisanship, to the point that I'd like president elect Obama to offer Secretary of Veterans' Affairs to McCain. There are three people with whom we should not deal,
    Giuliani, he's a demagogue and an ideologue.
    Palin, for obvious reason, see Couric
    Lieberman, the man cant be trusted.

    November 14, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  2. Nicholas Turecamo

    Pat Leahy's an idiot. Why should Lieberman get in trouble for helping out someone he believes in?

    Lieberman is getting punished for his courage!!!!!

    November 14, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  3. kayla

    LIEBERMAN SHOULD STEP DOWN. IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE DEMOCRATS VIEW, THEN HE SHOULD BE A REPUBLICAN. STOP BEATING AROUND THE BUSH. YOU CANNOT BELONG TO TWO PARTIES. YOU CANNOT BE TRUSTED LIEBERAT............

    November 14, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. Raymond Christopher

    Some principles are worth upholding and this one should.

    November 14, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  5. paul (staunch Moderate)

    The Senate democratic leadership meeds to take a page from their newly elected President – Inclusion will go a lot farther toward success than exclusion. Senaror Leahy: Get over it and begin working on fixing what's ailing our country!

    November 14, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  6. j. williams

    Senator Leahy, please do tell us how you got the moniker "leaky leahy" ....and they let you be chairman of the judiciary committee ???you should not even be able to hold public office.....

    November 14, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  7. Pepou

    Good. That weasel Lieberman should be in charge of the plumbing at the Senate. He knows a lot about sewers.

    November 14, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  8. paul oregon

    liberman is lower than a slug you dont sleep with youre best freinds wife and after you get caught say we all need to get along. bull sh t
    let him go to the gop apperantly he made his mind up when he gave his speech at the gop attacking obama. the dem. won we dont need to cow down to the repug. thumbs down to liberman

    November 14, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  9. Paul Giaimo

    I agree with Sen. Leahy. Lieberman would effectively hamper Obama's potential to bring about major and necessary changes in American foreign policy. His negative campaigning for McCain must not be forgotten

    November 14, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  10. MLH

    Joe Lieberman chose his side during the election. He could have supported Senator McCain in a much quieter way – however he chose to be very public and vocal about it and can't be at all surprised that the chickens have now come home to roost.

    November 14, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  11. Dixie AZ

    What does Lieberman expect? Evidently he thought to be welcomed back with open arms. I suspect he will play his trump card and threaten to caucus with the Republicans. Joe the Bummer.

    November 14, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  12. ED FL

    That weasel faced ,lying,cheating, [NON PARTY LOYALIST] piece of garbage should be thrown out of the senate or the decent people of connecticut should recall the slimeball.He should be adopted by Crist and the other GOP'ERS and let himdrive the bus for the next losing convention.

    November 14, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  13. PCS / North Carolina

    Yes, Joe is an Independent , who has the legitimate right to endorse McCain. However, democrats should not reward him with the chairmanship of a powerful committee. Because, he will align with the GOP when it comes to democrats policy matters. Once a flip flopper is always a flip flopper.

    November 14, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  14. peter

    This guy is out of touch and out of reach with reality but I think he should be forgiven because Obama ran on change not on revenge like what the previous Washingtonians did previuosly.Leahy need to understand that.I like Leahy leadership but I don't think a comment like this would come from him.Let's (we deomcrats) show the GOP how we can govern instead of doing some paybacks.Our planet is in peril, economy i recession, and two wars in front.

    November 14, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  15. Gaylon Barrow

    Why do they keep such a sick-O around anyway.

    November 14, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  16. Kora New York/Chicago

    Obama aide apologises to US-Arabs

    Rahm Emanuel apologised to Arab-Americans on behalf of his family
    President-elect Barack Obama's White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel has apologised to the US-Arab community for remarks made by his father.

    Benjamin Emanuel told an Israeli newspaper that his son, who is Jewish, would "obviously influence the president to be pro-Israel".

    He also referred to Arabs in a way which a leading Arab-American group called an "unacceptable smear".

    A spokesman for Rahm Emanuel said he had called the group to apologise.

    Mr Emanuel also offered to meet members of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

    In the interview last week with the Israeli daily newspaper Ma'ariv, Israeli-born Benjamin Emanuel talked about his son's new job.

    Anger at remarks

    He said: "Obviously he'll influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn't he? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to be mopping floors at the White House."

    His remarks angered the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which called on Rahm Emanuel to condemn them.

    On Thursday, his office issued a statement saying that the veteran Democratic congressman had called the group's president, Mary Rose Oakar.

    We cannot allow Arabs and Muslims to be portrayed in these unacceptable terms

    Mary Rose Oakar, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

    It said that he had "apologised on behalf of his family and offered to meet with representatives of the Arab-American community at an appropriate time in the future".

    On its website, the committee quoted Mr Rahm as saying: "From the fullness of my heart, I personally apologise on behalf of my family and me. These are not the values upon which I was raised or those of my family."

    Ms Oakar welcomed the apology, saying: "We cannot allow Arabs and Muslims to be portrayed in these unacceptable terms."

    Rahm Emanuel served as deputy chief of staff to Bill Clinton and analysts say he has a reputation for forceful negotiation and unwavering loyalty.

    As Mr Obama's chief of staff – and one of his closest advisers – he will be responsible for delivering the president's policy platform.

    Some Middle East commentators have voiced concern about the appointment of Mr Emanuel, who has a pro-Israel record.

    However, the congressman himself dismissed the idea and said that Mr Obama did not need his influence to "orientate his policy toward Israel".

    November 14, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  17. KEITH

    If Lieberman has any ethics left he should step down on his own. Does he think the rest of the Dems have forgotten. Obama will take the high road and not say anything. Joe-you got to go!!!!

    November 14, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  18. Richard

    Lieberman is no Democrat. I'd suggest you thank him for his service and then show him the door.

    November 14, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  19. RJ, PHX

    The Dems need to grow up already.
    He did play nice so we're gonna take his (hard earned) toys away.
    How small minded.

    November 14, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  20. Skyview

    Lieberman's problem is that he is an opportunist, and both parties know this, and he now has no place to go to peddle his weakened and depleted clout.... He should not be given any chairmanship whatsoever.... He gambled and lost, and should not now be rewarded for treasonous actions.

    November 14, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. Not a real hockey mom

    Here here on that one, you have said nothing but the truth, he must loose his chairmanship!!!

    November 14, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  22. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    I'm with Leahy 100%. Lieberman is a snake and should be banished from the garden. Good riddance!

    November 14, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  23. NickNas

    Hear Hear

    November 14, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  24. Jim Hall

    Send Lieberman back to Israel where he belongs and give him a one way ticket traitor Jim Hall Kansas City Missouri.

    November 14, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  25. marty

    This back-stabbing coming from the party that abandoned Lieberman in the primaries in his state. This coming from the party that desparately sought out his vote when it meant their majority in the Senate. Now, because he, as an Independent, speaks his mind, they are ready to throw him out. What hypocrisy! What audacity! And this is the party bringing change??? This is the party of tolerance??? I don't think so! The Democrats don't deserve Sen. Lieberman.

    November 14, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
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