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. Carrie Goodeagle Hayden, Idaho

    this guy is pathetic, why is he still pretending to be a Democrat, what is he a spy?

    November 6, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Doug R.

    Benedict Joe LIEberman. During the campaign, he and McCain were thick as thieves. At the very least he should be stripped of his chairmanship of the committees he oversees.

    November 6, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. nader


    November 6, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. Houston Boy

    Let's see:

    Lieberman dragged Gore down in his bid for the presidency in 2000.
    Lieberman lost badly his own bid in 2004.
    Lieberman lost Senate primaries in 2006, but won the election as an "Independent" with the help of his Republican friends.
    Lieberman was again a part of a losing crowd with McCains bid.

    I say - the Democratic party had enough of Joe the Lieberman.

    November 6, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. francheska ;-)

    He needs to go and live with the Republicans...that is where he really belongs.

    November 6, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Phil in KC

    I would LOVE to know what Reid said to him. Reid is not known to mince words. If I had to guess, I suspect it went something to the effect that he's still welcome to caucus with the Democrats, but he won't hold any more chairmanships or positions of authority. In other words, I bet he's been neutered.

    November 6, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. aware

    If you don't agree with Camp Obama, you get thrown under the bus! 🙁

    November 6, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. dwayne

    I swear it was Al Gore worst mistake in 2000, selecting this @$$clown for his V/P! This guy acted like a whimp against Cheney back then and now supported a guy that voted 90% of the time with Bush and Cheney! If you like your friend, "The Mac", so much, you can join him!

    November 6, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. jj

    Does anyone know what an independant is?? It means you are neither Dem or Rep. YOU have an open mind and are not lead around by your nose. Dems used him and maybe he just realized that and saw more of what he believed in McCain be actually I think McCain is more Independant than Rep. OK Hateful people go at it. This has been the worst election for name calling and nastiness I have ever seen and I'm an Independant and 62 and voted for both parties at one time or another. I go by the person NOT the party.

    November 6, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. FLewis

    Let him go NOW. Why give him options?

    November 6, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. MBW

    I don't have a problem with crossing party lines for certain issues....but to actively campaign for the other party's presidential candidate is too much.

    November 6, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  12. Jo

    Bye Joe. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. You were a loser as a Dem now as an Independent. Join the repubs.

    November 6, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Hank

    For him to actively work to defeat the Democrat nominee for president makes him some thing other than a Democrat. Let him caucus with the Republicans because there's no difference between him and the neo-cons who got us into the mess in Iraq. The Democrats in his home state saw him for what he is and chose another person for the party's nominee for the Senate. It's time for Lieberman to find a home elsewhere.

    November 6, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Hilary

    I bet the options are to either resign or go back to being a Democrat. I vote for resignation.

    November 6, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |



    November 6, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. Al


    November 6, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. UNC-Grad

    Good-bye Joe, you gotta go me oh, my oh....

    Throw him under the bus, then back the bus up....

    November 6, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  18. Mikey in San Antonio

    He should move to Alaska.

    November 6, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. P. Lele

    I don't know why Lieberman should have any option. He did everything possible to defeat Obama. The democratic party caucus should shut the door on him on principle. If he chooses to join the filibuster, the Connecticut voters should initiate a recall because he would not be representing the majority of them. Lieberman has made Iraq war as his cause that was just as strongly opposed by Obama. Democrats support Israel but they also consider "country first" and have decided that Iraq war is not in the US interest and that withdrawal from Iraq will not be detrimental to the US or Israel. Obviously Lieberman disagrees. If he thinks he agrees with other democratic positions, he can join them even for defeating a filibuster. But he should not be give any option. He should be given an ultimatum.

    November 6, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. Pam, Illinois

    You can't pledge allegiance to both sides. There is nothing bipartisan about Lieberman's actions. Kick him out.

    November 6, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. nicolevoter

    I'm sure there's a mop and broom with his name written ALL over it!!!

    November 6, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. KJL

    Lieberman thought he was jumping over to the winning side, but he found himself on a (sorry) road to nowhere. He should take his medicine like a man, and resign from the Democratic party.

    November 6, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |


    November 6, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Gary

    Joe, John and Lindsay, maybe you can make a sitcom. The Three Stooges, The Senior Years.
    Can't see you good for much else.

    November 6, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. Tired of Joe

    Joe, you're an elected US Senator from Connecticut, and for that, you are respected. However, you are clearly not a Democrat, in letter or in spirit. You've turned yourself into the Zell Miller of these past 4 years. Supporting Bush's warmongering, campaigning for McCain, and even speaking at the RNC convention in August. Come out of the closet, and admit to yourself who you are. You're a Republican, and no longer wanted by the Democratic caucus. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when Reid layed out Lieberman's "options".

    November 6, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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