[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/05/art.liebreid.gi.jpg caption="Reid is standing by Lieberman."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday stood by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut independent, despite Lieberman's attack on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama a day earlier.
Lieberman criticized Obama's Middle East policy Wednesday in a conference call organized by the presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain.
"I think everyone should understand that Joe Lieberman has made a decision on issues related to the war. And he's decided to back John McCain.
But Joe Lieberman is an important vote for this caucus," Reid told reporters after being asked if he was considering removing Lieberman as chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The Democrats control the Senate by a 51-49 majority because Lieberman and another independent, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, vote with the Democrats.
During a brief Senate floor appearance Wednesday, Obama pulled Lieberman aside and held a lengthy and animated conversation with him.
The interaction took place shortly after Lieberman criticized Obama's speech to an influential pro-Israel group.
Obama later declined to say what he told Lieberman other than to say it involved his speech to the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee and that the two were "talking some politics."
Reid said he also talked with Lieberman on Wednesday.
"I had a conversation with Joe Lieberman at some length," Reid said. "I'm not going to discuss the conversation here. But I think the discussion he had with Obama yesterday and the discussion he had with me were fruitful. We'll let the future decided what it's going to be, but I'm not going to threaten anyone at this point."
Lieberman was the Democratic candidate for vice president in 2000. He left the party in 2006 after losing to Ned Lamont in a Democratic primary race to hold his seat. He defeated Lamont in the general election.