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. emmy

    can't we please just all get along now. please 🙁

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. The Enforcer

    You'd better kiss some serious butt Lieberman otherwise, we will kick you to the curb.

    Your only hope for re-election in CT is with Democratic support.

    To quote your good friend, John McCain, we've got you right where we want you. What are you going to do for the Democrats to get back in their good graces?

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  3. John

    Let's see if the Dems practice what they preach. If it's unity that they want, they should leave him alone.

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. Greg

    Joe has got gooooooooooo!

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. Emma, San Jose, CA

    I am curious about Lieberman's options. His chances for a McCain appointment are non-existent. I believe his support of McCain was guided by his wish to have an important position in the hoped for McCain administration.. Nice try, Joe, but we need to hear from you on how you will work to help voters get what they voted for, not what your cronies can do for you.

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Sam

    The Dems are showing their true colors: hateful and cruel. The Dems won't be in power for ever, and the may need Senator Liebermans vote and help when the next round of elections come around.

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Rob

    Since when is it wrong for a Congressman to vote for what he and his constituents want instead of what the Party wants?

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. much for you Obama fans and your cries for Unity

    You Democrats are a complete JOKE!!!!!! How dare someone leave the party??

    You all sound like a bunch of street gang JOE going to have to be "beating out of the gang"????

    Democrats...........sore winners .....and even worse losers!!!!!

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. Sian

    Would it be too much to suggest that they Tar and Feather him. Joe is a Traitor who could not accept that Americans would elect for a (gasp) black man.

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. conny

    Send him to IRAQ, and drop him from a helicopter without the........
    and let him figure it out. But, at any rate he is the enemy to the democrats and too himself......CROOK

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. LDS Lady

    Harry, I would love to see you run for President. Against Mitt Romney of course. That way, those that have a problem with our religion can vote third party.

    Romney 2012!

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. Cynthia; Bham

    Tell Lieberman the best thing for him to do for now is what they will let him do and get ready for the battle of his life during the next election cycle.

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |

    Good riddance. now it's time to pay the piper loserman!!!! – JUDAS!

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. A Real American

    It is time to UNITE this country!
    McCain for Sec of Defense!
    Liberman for something!
    Both are honorable men.
    Yes, I voted for Obama for President!

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. Andy

    My how things change.Eight years ago as the hanging chads were being counted, repubs shouted "Sore-loserman." Eight years later, Dems want to throw him under the bus. What's next? Joe L. has done more good than bad. Some of you have short memories.

    November 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. Jos/TN

    Joe caused Gore the election, he should be ashame, what did he see in McCain that was better than the democratic choices

    November 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. David

    Keep him in the Dem party and as chair of his committee until he votes against the Dems on a filibuster

    November 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Amanda

    It was not just that Leiberman supported McCain, but his tone against Obama in his speech at the Republican Convention was uncalled for. The Democratic Party cannot overlook it.

    November 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Sam

    Joe the Liar Man should get a clue and p*ss off.

    November 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. Jim in Atlanta

    Absolutely amazing to read some of the comments posted on here. So now its supposed to be all about unity and putting partisanship aside and the first thing the Dem caucus and liberals want is to boot Joe Lieberman from his chairmanships and possibly the caucus. This is not a good display of bipartisanship. It's revenge and getting even – something the Bush administration excelled it. Speaking about "change" and "unity" is not the same as actually doing it. Joe Lieberman is a true patriot who speaks his mind. The senate needs more people like him it true "change" is ever going to happen in America.

    November 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. jimbo

    Deport him.

    November 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. Phil

    Lieberman is a moderate...what is wrong with that? The Democrats are in control of Congress and soon will have the presidency. What is wrong with having a dissenting opinion?

    Whatever happened to coming together? I thought that's what Sen Obama's victory speech was about.

    We need more Congressmen like Joe Lieberman.

    November 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  23. Michael J

    Really nice tone here, dem's. Someone disagrees with your policies and look at the rhetoric. Why not just lynch him? Maybe tatoo a star of David and send him to camp?

    November 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |

    Wow look at all that "unity" and"coming together" spread by all the Barack supporters here. You people are a joke.

    November 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  25. Nick

    Lieberman undermined the Democrats of Connecticut by running as an Independent after losing in a primary in 2006. Then, two years later, he one-upped himself by undermining Democrats across the country by campaigining tirelessly for two Republican war hawks. Yeah, Lieberman is Country First alright - Isreal.

    November 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
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