November 6th, 2008
04:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Lieberman pondering 'options' after Reid meeting

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Lieberman met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Thursday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman said Thursday he needs a few days to ponder "the options that I have before me" after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Lieberman did not explain what those options were when he made brief remarks to reporters, and Reid said afterward that no decisions have been made.

Watch: 'We must unite' Lieberman says

Lieberman, the Democratic Party's 2000 vice presidential nominee, supported Republican Sen. John McCain in Tuesday's presidential election. But after Democratic Sen. Barack Obama's victory over McCain, the Connecticut senator said it was time to unite behind the incoming president.

"I decided in that election that partisanship should take a back seat to doing what I believed was best for our country," he said. "But the election is over, and I completely agree with President-elect Obama that we must now unite to get the economy going again and keep the American people safe."

Lieberman's continued allegiance to the Democratic caucus has given the party a 51-49 majority in the Senate since 2006, and he holds the chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. But his support of McCain - and sometimes-harsh criticism of Obama - angered many of his colleagues.

Updated with Reid statement

When Obama returned to the Senate in June after clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, he pulled Lieberman into a corner of the Senate chamber for a lengthy and animated one-on-one conversation in full view but out of earshot of reporters.

Lieberman has been an outspoken supporter of the war in Iraq, backing the Bush administration at a time when the Democratic leadership in Congress has been trying to force an end to the widely unpopular conflict. He lost his home state's Democratic primary to an anti-war challenger in 2006, only to win a fourth Senate term as an independent.

Reid, D-Nevada, was reluctant to act against Lieberman when his control of the chamber relied on the Connecticut senator's vote. But a top aide to the majority leader told reporters in September, after Lieberman spoke to the Republican National Convention, that the caucus would "reassess the situation"
after the election.

With Democrats gaining at least five seats on Tuesday, Reid summoned Lieberman to discuss his future with the caucus. In a statement issued after the meeting, Reid said Thursday's meeting was "the first of what I expect to be several conversations."

"While I understand that Senator Lieberman has voted with Democrats a majority of the time, his comments and actions have raised serious concerns among many in our caucus," he said. "I expect there to be additional discussions in the days to come, and Senator Lieberman and I will speak to our
caucus in two weeks to discuss further steps."

Reid could move to strip Lieberman of his committee chairmanship or other committee seats. The full Democratic caucus would have to approve any action when it meets again in two weeks.

Lieberman said he had "a very good conversation" with Reid, but disclosed no details and took no questions.

"I want to spend some time in the next few days thinking about what Sen. Reid and I discussed and what my options are at this point," he said. "He promised me that he would do the same, and we will continue these conversations."

Filed under: Joe Lieberman
soundoff (259 Responses)
  1. Richie

    He needs to be gone. Move to the repubs or resign.

    November 6, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. warren smith

    GOOD BYE JOE THE ????????

    November 6, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. montag

    Toss the traitor out on his ear!

    November 6, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. J S Ragman

    It is time for the Democrats to cut ties with smarmy Joe.

    November 6, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. JJ

    Go Republican so you can be with McCain.

    November 6, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. KC

    Joe, you are a man with a lot of courage. I hope that has been respected. If not, best of luck to you in your future - whatever you may decide to do.

    November 6, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. warren smith

    GOOD BYE JOE THE ????????

    November 6, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. JOEMAC1

    Good riddance, Joe. This guy is totally unbelievable.

    November 6, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. mayah

    One who pretends to be what he is not.. is called JOE LIEBERMAN
    a hypocrite

    November 6, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. Barbara in NC

    Let him join Joe the Plumber in fixin' the McCain toilets.

    November 6, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. Eli

    Now that the straight talk express has crashed Reid should throw Lieberman under the bus.

    November 6, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. John

    Connecticut please take notice.

    November 6, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. Chris

    They are going to give him a choice obviously, but they have to show some sort of punishment. It's one thing to buck your party and let your voice be heard when it comes to governing, it's quite another to compeltely turn your back on the party and actively campaign against it. He even recently made a statemtn on how it would be the end of America if Dems got the 60 seat majority. No, they won't kick him out of the caucus, but they'll punish him in some way. Either way, I severely doubt Leiberman will hold his seat when he comes up for re-election in 4 years.

    November 6, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. george collins

    I hope Reid offered him the chance of reverting his independent satutes back to the democratic fold or loose his previlages. Left to me I would have been happy Reid strips him of all he enjoys with the democratic party.

    November 6, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  15. Tim

    Joe the Turncoat!

    November 6, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  16. Lian

    I for one will be proud to vote for Lieberaman's re-election. For all you saying to through him out of the Democratic Party. Newsflash, he is already an Independent. You can't throw someone out of a party they don't belong to. Why? Because he has the courage to stand for what he believes in and not what his party tells him to believe him. The leaders of the Democratic Party no longer stand for free thinking and new ideas that do not mimic their own.

    As an Independent, I don't know if he should be able to remain the chair of the party causeses. But leave it to the dems who kept him because they needed him and now discard him despite what he has contributed because he didn't tow a line he didn't agree with.

    Good for him for not participating in this Animal Farm replay!

    November 6, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  17. Greg M.

    O.K. President Obama let's get busy. The world is has witnessed the victory of positive change. Lets go in history as the best Presidents ever. Take your time and fix what the republicans have messed up. We will all help, just keep being visible and keep talking to us on the Micheal Basinden show. We are inviting you and your family to Baton Rouge, La. and the Biden family.

    Obama 08'..............................................................................

    November 6, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. michael

    Lieberman is a turncoat! I cannot even stand looking at him. he should be kicked out of the Democratic Party after what he did..

    November 6, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  19. Den Mother

    Become a liberal Republican. God knows the country needs more of them.

    November 6, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. Never let them see you sweat....

    bye bye Joe..... there is no more need for you and after your antics, we definitely can't trust you!!!!!

    November 6, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. hard_facts

    Ask Lieberman country first? and by that I mean USA 1st?

    He cannot answer that because he endorsed Palin who by all accounts is unqualified.

    Lieberman must join Hannity and O'Reilly, bye!

    November 6, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  22. Bingo

    Typical reaction of the current Democratic leadership - anyone or anything that dares to publicly question the lock step party line must be contained or destroyed. Remember the Orlando news station after the interview with Senator Biden? How about Joe the Plumber? Looks like Senator Lierberman will be one more sacrifice to the monolithic Democratic machine that will achieve national unity by suppressing any dissent. Real great start for bipartisanship and coming together. The Democratic party continues to demonstrate that it is the party of spoiled, greedy little children who pitch temper tantrums if they don't get their way and only hear what they want to hear. Senator Lieberman, you will be welcome in the Grand Old Party if you wish to join the adults.

    November 6, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. Tony

    Don't give him any options, just kick him out!

    November 6, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  24. arc, Lugano CH

    GOP/McCain Collaborator
    Bring out the knives.

    November 6, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  25. Samiel - Rochester, NY

    Give him one way ticket to Alaska.

    November 6, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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