April 26th, 2010
03:46 PM ET
6 years ago

Lieberman opens up about becoming an independent

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Joe Lieberman said Monday that losing the 2006 Democratic primary was one of the most difficult moments of his political career. But the independent lawmaker quickly added that he thinks that loss and his subsequent decision to run for re-election without the support of the Democratic Party freed him up to be in a unique position in the current political environment.

"When I lost the Democratic primary for re-election in 2006 in Connecticut, it was the most painful moment - most disappointing moment - of my political career," Lieberman said in an interview set to air on CNN's John King, USA. "Yet as I look back to it, and it sure didn't feel like that then, I feel like I was done a favor."

After losing the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont, Lieberman ran in the general election as an independent, besting Lamont and the Republican challenger in order to hold onto his Senate seat.

Lieberman told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that being an independent has worked to his benefit.

Not being in either party, "I think put me in exactly the position I want to be in at this hyper-partisan, non-productive, divisive time in our politics. And it gives me the latitude to try to be a bridge on a lot of different issues, to make things happen. Or sometimes not to be a bridge. Just to speak out and say what I believe - whether it makes everybody on one party or another happy or not."

The normally outspoken Lieberman also refused to weigh in on Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist. Once the favorite, Crist is now trailing in the polls in Florida's GOP Senate primary and has until the end of this week to decide if he will abandon the GOP and run as an independent.

"[E]very campaign - every individual - is a different situation," Lieberman said of Crist.

And asked about his plans for his next re-election bid in 2012, Lieberman said that "probably most likely" he'd run again as an independent.

"But I wouldn't rule anything out - and that is running on either of the other parties," the Connecticut lawmaker said.

Lieberman also discussed his role in the comprehensive energy bill intended to deal with climate change, the recent attention being paid to immigration reform during this election year, the overall political climate in the country and the growing dissatisfaction with government.

Watch Lieberman's sit-down Monday on CNN's John King, USA beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

Filed under: JKUSA • Joe Lieberman • John King USA • Popular Posts
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. El Gordo

    It is well past time for Sen. Lieberman to retire and hire someone to write his autobiography. His only function is to get in the way when other people are trying to accomplish something. He has no agenda, no vision, no beliefs, and no goals.

    Of course, I live in Texas. I can't complain about the low quality of elected officials from other states. Well, at least we're better than South Carolina.

    April 26, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. JasonK

    Oh puhleassseee.... cry me ariver. Joe you are the most corrupt politician that ever existed. I nm glad that you have lost the next election.

    April 26, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  3. Ken in NC

    Senator, I promise to provide you with a vote against any national office you seek so as to send you the message that you are not wanted.

    April 26, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. Gop

    My opinion is he is not a true independent. He still votes over 95% of the time with the Democrat party even though these bums threw him under the bus.

    I agree he is better off not being in a party at this time but if you still vote along your old party lines then nothing has changed other then you now don’t have a D in front of your name.

    April 26, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. kd

    Rewriting history, Joe?

    Hardly – your ego couldn't allow you losing, so you went the cheap route. Connecticut and the country lost. You should be gone.

    April 26, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  6. Barry

    Lieberman is as partisan as they come. He has become a republican lapdog and for him to try and paint himself as anything other than that is just dishonest. Lieberman set out to be the democratic spoiler and acheived his goals. And the worst thing is that Dems have allowed him to do so. Its time for him to be stripped of committee chairs and sent to the back bench and to close all military bases in CT. If the people of CT want to continue to elect this creature they need to know that there are consequences.

    April 26, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    News flash Joe- that's what you are supposed to do regardless of party!
    We don't elect parties, we elect people based on what they say they will do. your comments don;t reflect freedom, they reflect a lack of understanding about elections and the american people.

    April 26, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. Independent Lady

    TO GOP:

    The Republicans have also thrown Crist under the bus and I hope he also runs as an Independent. I wish many more elected officials will run as an Independent instead of being shackled to a particular party.

    April 26, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. Mickey, NY

    Traitor Joe the Fraud

    April 26, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Moderate

    What's to open up about? He jumped ship to hold the seat he's about to loose.

    April 26, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. Keep It Simple Stupid

    Since Joe doesnt' consider himself a Democrat, strip him of his chairmanship. There can be no free ride.

    April 26, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. Wisconsinite

    Joe Lieberman will ALWAYS be on the side of which-ever-way-the-political-wind-is-blowing. That's not "non-partisan", Joe . . . that's being an opportunist without any ideals!

    April 26, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Alan Richmond

    Senator you should have been tickled the Democrat threw you out, so you become what you have always been a mind boggling Republican.

    April 26, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Hongli

    Talk about a "FLIP- FLOPPER"!!!!!!!!!!

    April 26, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. Harry Baxter

    You're unique alright, Joe, but so is Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh, Hitler, Atilla the Hun, etc. Unique and Good aren't synonyms. I bet that most folks from Connecticut now regret their vote against Ned lamont.

    April 26, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    His self serving panderings and dual Israel/US citizenship make clear he is the archetypal, opportunistic political and moral chameleon and shape-shifter. How he lives with himself each day is beyond me.

    April 26, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. mjm

    The only reason Joe is an independent is because his party stabbed him in the back, tried to get rid of him, but he won despite his back stabbing party. He is still a Democrat as far as his voting record, but it's great to see him as a independent on paper because it reminds us all of the true nature of the liberal democrats....if you even look at them funny, you're out.

    April 26, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. ART

    Judas, Judas ,Judas, thank god you never became Vice President

    April 26, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. Larry

    Lieberman has always been a "whatever way the wind blows" politician. No substance.

    He's a legend in his own mind.

    April 26, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Lieberman talks like he has the power of a Vice President, NOT. Sounds like he's lost again, please retire this man.

    April 26, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Duck Fallas

    ...and then, at the State of the Union speech, our eyes met, and we knew we couldn't hold back. We longed for each other; we embraced, we kissed. It was magic. That night, I fell in love with Bush.

    April 26, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. KateHikes

    In this traitor's mind, "independent" means acting in the best interests of that apartheid regime in the Middle East (you know, the one occupying Palestine) against the interests of the United States. America, when will you realize that the "chosen" 2% in this country have allegiances elsewhere?

    April 26, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Give me a break. He ran as a Democrat and got elected throughout his career through the hard work of the tens of thousands of Democratic volunteers and party members. When he decided he didn't like what the Democrats stood for, he dumped them and they nominated someone else.

    Typical overblown political ego ... he wants to do what he wants when he wants.

    April 26, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  24. Luke Brown

    Give me a break. He ran as a Democrat and got elected throughout his career through the hard work of the tens of thousands of Democratic volunteers and party members. When he decided he didn't like what the Democrats stood for, he dumped them and they nominated someone else.

    Typical overblown political ego ... he wants to do what he wants when he wants.

    April 26, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Speaking of the Florida elections, I caught Sen. "You Lie" Grayson on the Bill Maher Show over the weekend and I was stunned and stupefied.

    I'm going to say it only once: on that show I liked him!! He came off as reasonable, and human. He was even funny.

    You think I'm going to "Democratic hell" for this admission? Nawwww!
    Just goes to show, it's politics baby, just politics.

    April 26, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
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