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. Polly

    I think these guys are trying to make a larger issue out of this than what it is. Clearly, Senator Lieberman is a Democrat-turned-Independant; It should be no shock to them that he might want to back Senator McCain in his run for the Presidency. He obviously thinks for himself and isn't necessarily die-hard committed to one party. He has that right and it should not be used against him. They are intentionally trying to turn the course of events here.

    November 14, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  2. chris from STL

    If I were Joe Lieberman, I would quit the committee chair position. Any self respecting person with honor would do the same.

    November 14, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  3. pam Eugene OR

    I agree completely. Stop being such a nice guy. Lieberman needs to go! His behavior should not be rewarded. He stood in front of the American people and told lies about you.The same goes for HRC. I will be extremely displeased if she is offered Sec of State. If we had wanted more Clinton rule we would have voted for her (them).
    Come on Barack, I worked tirelessly to help you. I gave the max, I knocked on doors,I stood on the street and registered voter, I made hundreds of phone call because I wanted the change you promised.
    Please give us what you promised. Not more of the same with lame Lieberman and Hillary as Sec of State.

    November 14, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  4. Jesse from Berlin

    Obama may not hold "any grudges" against Sen.Lieberman, but that doesn´t mean the Democrats should not express the way they feel about him... They can chose to strip him of his chairmanship if they want.. Had Sen MacCain won he would had maybe been SOS or gotten another position...He gambled and lost... Now he gotta Pay........

    November 14, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  5. Independant Vet

    LEAHY SHOULD RETIRED LONG AGO.

    THE COUNTRY NEEDS MORE LIKE JOE L. THAT TRYS TO JUDGE BEST WHAT IS FOR THE COUNTRY . BY PUTTING POLITICS TO THE SIDE.

    STILL SAY THE DNC & THE REST OF THE DC , ARE TO FAMILIAR WITH HOLLYWOOD . NOTICE THEY KEEP RUNNING THERE MOUTHS SO MUCH , THEY STARTED ANOTHER FIRE. ONE WAY TO PAY OFF THERE MORTAGE.

    SO TELL EM JOE, YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN MESS, AN i WILL STILL DO BEST FOR THE COUNTRY . SIT DOWN LEAHY . TAKE A ROCKER WITH YOU AN JOIN PELOSI . FAR FAR AWAY.

    November 14, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  6. Western Voter

    Amen. Now is the time to send messages and canning Lieberman is the right message. Let him go to the GOP...and he can explain that to his fiolks back home.

    November 14, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  7. ken

    Very true!

    I didn't know how childish Lieberman is till he acted like one!

    November 14, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  8. Chris in Va.

    The Democrats should not punish Senator Lieberman for his actions during the election and come off looking as seeking revenge, let the fine people of Connecticut do that when the bum comes up for re-election.

    November 14, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  9. Ruth

    Kick the traitor OUT.

    November 14, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  10. vahe

    i agree with this man he should loose it

    November 14, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. Don from Maine

    While I didn't agree with Lieberman and his support of John McCain we need to remember that we live in AMERICA. Lieberman has the right to speak his mind an to support whomever he chooses. And so do you and I. There's that pesky little document called the Constitution and another one called the Bill of Rights that allow this to be. While personally I think Lieberman is an idiot-I thank God that he does not represent me and my home state. And I thank God and the founding fathers that allow even an idiot the right to choose whomever he supports.

    November 14, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  12. Craig Kasnoff

    I say let's just 'tar and feather' him and get it over with!

    Of course he should lose his chairmanship.

    Let him go play with the kids across the street.

    It's where he belongs.

    November 14, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  13. GBrown

    If Lieberman had an ounce of honor, he would step down and join the republican caucus.

    November 14, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  14. David

    Lieberman should be stripped of any and all given power by the democrats and kicked over to the repub side of the isle. What do you think he would have done if McCain won the election???

    November 14, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  15. maynard hopkins wi

    HOGWASH HE HAS THE RIGHT TO BACK WHOM EVER HE WANTS TO....THIS IS WHY THE DEMS. ARE LOSING MEMBERS.ALSO WHY THE AMERICN PUBLIC IS UP IN ARMS.

    November 14, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  16. Finally!

    It's not that he supported McCain. It's that he attacked Obama aggressively. Not sure I would trust him to lead on behalf of the democrats.

    November 14, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  17. teesha

    Agree completely

    November 14, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  18. jjc

    If he wishes to continue to caucus with Democrats let him but he should definitely not be given a high ranking position that should be reserved for a Democrat. He actively fought against our candidate for president. He obviously should not continue his chairmanship.

    November 14, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  19. New Day

    oh hush up, Leahy you tired old coot

    November 14, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  20. No Hillary = No Obama

    And I recall Leahy dissing Hillary Clinton during the primaries after he jumped on the Obama bandwagon. This is the pot calling the kettel a back stabber.

    November 14, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  21. Tracy M.

    @Don from Maine:
    Nobody's saying he doesn't have the right. However, in this, as in all things, there are consequences. Of course he has freedom of speech. The democratic caucus has freedoms, too, and they include stripping him of his position if they choose to do so. His behavior was despicable and I don't think he should be allowed to keep his post. That being said, I admire and respect Obama for being disinclined to exact revenge.

    November 14, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  22. Samantha

    Lieberman is a traitor. Yeah, he has a right to free speech, but then you have to accept the consequences for what you say. That's how it works. He doesn't deserve anything after the horrible things he said. Kick him to the curb.

    November 14, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  23. devon spencer

    i'm not sure if he should lose it or not. Maybe he should stay on board so he can be used as a vote just in case we can't get 60 Democratic senators. He's almost guaranteed to lose re-election anyway

    November 14, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  24. Alex

    I agree with Senator Leahy on this matter, and I have always respected Leahy's outspoken nature. Unfortunately, Joe Lieberman's staunch ally is Senator Harry Reid, and Reid does not want to lose his acolyte. I doubt Lieberman will lose his chairmanship. Reid is his guardian angel.

    November 14, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  25. LT

    I was fine with Lieberman supporting McCain, who is his old friend, but once he was at the rallies with Palin alone, without McCain, that is when I think he went way too far. By being at the Palin rallies, where she lied about Senator Obama, race-baited and tried to divide this country, Lieberman was in essence supporting what was being said and the insinuations that Palin was making. And his presence there demonstrated that he actually thought Palin was fit to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Unforgiveable! I broke up with a girl that thought Palin was ready to be president. I couldn't get over that. How could any logical person think she was ready?!! How?!

    I hope the Don, Barack Obama, pulls a Godfather II on Lieberman by grabbing him and telling him "I know it was you Lieberrman. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!"

    November 14, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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