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. Ken in NC

    Reid should give Lieberman his PINK SLIP.

    November 6, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. Frank,MO

    Lieberman is a Republican. That's ok .. however, other Republicans have the courage to admit to that.

    November 6, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. Monica, In Kingsland

    Well, he did like most people do when caught similar situations; he went with what he thought would benefit him and his future. If this had gone the opposite way, so would this conversation.

    Joe would be the ideal person to start reuniting our parties and this country. What an act of forgiveness to embrace him now. To me that would be more detrimental to him and the gop than anything.

    You who is without sin; cast the first stone. We tend to forget these are real people with families and feelings. Good luck Joe!

    Obama/Biden 2008

    November 6, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. proud army and navy mom

    We don't need him. let this warmonger caucaus with the repugs.

    November 6, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. David S. Robins

    Let's hope Harry Reid told Lieberman that he can no longer caucus with the Democrats. Lieberman has decisively proven his disloyalty to his party and his country. His first loyalty is to the racist state of Israel. Best choice would be for him to move there for the rest of his life.

    November 6, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. Ese

    What options. When is he going to stop, we ( the world) see right though. He is a disgrace to Republicana and Democrats, both. Do the honorable thing and resign from politics. It is over!!!!!!

    November 6, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. Simmy

    Sen Lieberman,
    please give up your seat and join the Green Party immediately!

    I forgive you for your stupidity, but I will never trust or respect your judgment!


    November 6, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. Barb

    I did not have a problem with Joe supporting McCain but the things he said about Obama crossed the line. GET RID OF HIM

    November 6, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. The Stallion & The Champ vs. The Old Mule and Winky Half-baked Alaska

    How about the option of apologizing to Mr. Obama for all the swipes and lies?

    November 6, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. Independent Citizen - VA

    Jose, San Diego...great post!

    "Bible Spice"...haha; i may have to steal that one!

    November 6, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. Dawn

    He decided to support John Mccain on his own and now he must face the Senate on his own, what he get is what he gets, No one can help him. Doing the terrorist, socialist crap in the mist of almost tearing this Country apart along with Sarah Palin...

    November 6, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. abc

    Joe the RAT ! Ship that pathertic piece of garbage to Alaska, so he can be Sarah's pet dog and play catch with left over Moose bones!

    November 6, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. SHIRLEY "60"

    "Traitor Joe" Lie-berman should be drummed out of the Senate and the country for his turn-coat ways. I believe, that he is not to be trusted under any circumstances, and people like him scare the dickens out of me. I trust my insight into people, and he strikes me as a bad apple who will do anything and say anything, from all appearances. Definitely he is not to be trusted!!

    November 6, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Vivian Beals

    Gore lost because of "Joe the looser". I know millions of Muslim votes were lost by Gore because of "Joe the Looser". He should be sent to Arizona. Mccain has a lot of houses and needs his help.

    November 6, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. PL

    Traitor, I can't believe that the Dem's would even consider keeping him around.

    November 6, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Paul

    Hey Joe, said now
    Where you gonna run to now?
    Where you gonna run to?
    Hey Joe, I said where you gonna run to now?
    Where you, where you gonna go?

    November 6, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. JJ

    Good riddence! Go don't the door hit you on the way out.

    November 6, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. MD

    As a self-described left winger, I think its a bad idea to strip his committee chairmanship. We shouldn't need to suppress alternative opinions other than our own.. This is what Barack has been talking about for the duration of the election!!!

    If only Ned Lamont was elected we wouldn't even have to deal with Joe aka Darth Sith, but he is a necessary evil.

    November 6, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. mesimer

    leave him alone he is better than those in charge

    November 6, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. Bruce

    time to work together..let all the aprtisn politic go.
    Lieberman did what he felt was best for the i agree with him and whatn he did ...NO
    But we must now all come together...

    November 6, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. Bill

    He should go to Alaska with Palin.

    Where she and "First Dud" will try to succeed Alaska from the rest of the US.

    Then we won't have to hear from any of them again.

    November 6, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. MRD

    Go work with Joe the Plummer

    November 6, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. 3strikes

    1st strike – people voted for obama just because they like him

    2nd strike – people voted for obama just because they wanted to see the first african american in the white house

    3rd strike – people voted for obama just because they wanted to go with the flow

    all the wrong reasons to vote for this inexperienced empty suit socialist, it just shows – millions of people suffering from idiocy

    November 6, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  24. CR in WI

    Option 1: Give up your chairmanship and play ball
    Option 2: Give up your chairmanship, change the [I] after your name to [R] and get the hell out of the way.

    Joe you missed the boat. Now neither side trusts you or cares for your opinion any longer.

    Yes we did!

    November 6, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. jack

    Joe Lieberman a traitor? Come on! It is the one-sided mentality and rhetoric like this that stifles progress in America. He is a true American. His bi-partisanship and open mindedness is what we need more of in American politics. Let's not fall into the same arrogance that has prevailed during the last 8 years of Bush control.

    November 6, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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