November 7th, 2008
02:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Lieberman not happy with Reid's offer, flirting with Republicans

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Lieberman was not happy with what Reid had to offer, an aide said."]UPDATE: Democratic source says Reid offered Veterans Affairs chairmanship

(CNN) - An aide to Sen. Joe Lieberman tells CNN that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told Lieberman he wanted him to give up his position as Chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, and instead take the helm of a lower profile full committee.

A Senate Democratic source familiar with the meeting confirms that account and tells CNN that one of options Reid gave Lieberman in a private meeting Thursday is Chairman of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee.

But the aide to Lieberman says the Connecticut senator made clear that was “not acceptable” to him, and reminded Reid that he was one of the Senators who wrote the legislation creating the Homeland Security Department, and that’s where he wants to stay.

Nothing was resolved in the meeting, and the Lieberman aide tells CNN that although he still wants to caucus with the Democrats, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell has contacted Lieberman about formally aligning with Republicans, and that Lieberman is “keeping all of his options open.”

An aide to McConnell confirms to CNN that the two men “have been talking.”

This Lieberman aide, who insisted the meeting was very cordial, also says that he reminded Reid that he may have been elected an Independent, but that he has voted overwhelmingly with the Democrats.

The Senate Democratic source says this issue will now likely be dealt with by the full Senate Democratic caucus, when it meets on November 18th.

Lieberman was a fixture on the campaign trail with Republican presidential candidate John McCain, and Reid is under pressure from many Democrats to punish him for harsh criticism of Barack Obama in a speech at the Republican convention.

A spokesman for Reid had no immediate comment on the specifics of the meeting, except to say that it was “frank,” and that the two agreed to talk more about Lieberman’s future role in the Senate.

The two met on Thursday.

Filed under: Harry Reid • Joe Lieberman
soundoff (559 Responses)
  1. HeadlessHessian

    Lieberman turned his coat on Obama when Obama had given him support. Lieberman showed his true colors. Actions have concequences and Lieberman needs to pay up. If he goes to the Republicans then so be it. He is not independent for sure.

    November 7, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. Grant

    Good riddance. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    November 7, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. JM Philly

    He is a self-aggrandizing, self-interested, turncoat and he needs to go. What forces me to spew this venom? One and only one act: Getting up at the Republi-fascist convention and bashing Obama. He's no Democrat.

    November 7, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. This is interesting....

    While I do think he should've been as critical as he was, I don't believe that he should banned.... I think the DNC should consider how effective he was in the position.... If he wasn't, fine get rid of him – if he was – keep him and do something a little less drastic.... I don't believe that he should be punished b/c he had a differing viewpoint.....

    November 7, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. Bruce

    you know before Lieberman goes and makes decisions..he needs to be reminded that he represents the citizens of Conn. and he should do what they want, or demand he do as far as who he sides with. He seems to foget that he is servant of the so many politicans do.

    November 7, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |

    BENEDICT ARNOLD! TAKE YOUR GOP BUDDIES AND BEAT IT! Bi-partisanship is based on trust and mutual respect. Joe Lieberman has neither.

    November 7, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  7. Joe in CT - not Lieberman!!!

    As a Connecticut resident, we have been looking for Lieberman since 2002. That is when he decided to get a place in New Hampshire so he could run for President in 2004! Since he lost that election he spent the next two years kissing up to us for not being there. He took it as a personal affront that he lost the democratic primary for senate but miraculously turned in the petitions needed to run as an independent the very next day! Every senior republican in the CT and NY spent the next couple of months stumping for him, so it was no surprise to most of us that he was AWOL from the state as soon as McCain announced his candidacy. Of course, around then Chris Dodd decided to get a place to live in Iowa for his own failed bid. If we had recall procedures in CT, they would have probably been out of a job and we would have had a pair of Senators who is aware that we need our state's voice heard!

    November 7, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. greg

    "you turn your back on them . . . and they disown you." ??? Kyle, doesn't that mean he disowned the Dems? And that is exactly what he did. Lieberman embraced a presidential candidate and philosophy that is right wing republican conservative – a branch of the conservative party that the voters have soundly rebuked. He has made himself an independent only in name – and only so as to retain some power given to him previously by the Dems. He has made his bed . . .

    November 7, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. Hayden

    What a bunch of sore losers you people are. So, let me guess, this is the new post partisanship? If someone disagrees with you or The One they are to be labeled a traitor? That's not change, that's more of George Bush's mentality. Lieberman is an elected Independent Senator who doesn't owe any party. It's a real possibility that the Democrats might get 60 seats.... that is unless they upset Lieberman enough to bolt to the GOP, then they have 59.

    Only 4 more years 'till 2012.

    November 7, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    I am a Dem. and could not vote for the other side if my life depended on it, and felt betrayed by Sen. Lieberman. Yet, we should reprimand him and forgive the prodigal. There was a chain of events which led him to this point and we should be willing to welcome him back into the fold, rather than allow him to lose his soul to the Republican's ideology.

    All of us stand in need of grace.

    November 7, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Hope

    If Joe wants to stay with the Loosing Team–I say–Let my People Go.
    go Joe go

    Lucky to get any committee chair.

    Maybe we need a new and improved HomeLand Security–Bush didn't really step up and build up as needed.

    November 7, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. Bob in CT

    Just wish he was up for election here now, instead of 4 years. Then we could have gottten rid of him once and for all. He is done in this state. He played the game once too often. Backing McCain is fine, bashing Obama wasn't . You get what you pay for. Joe don't even bother running again, we don't want you!

    November 7, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Tushinski

    Dump the two faced lizard!

    November 7, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. irony

    Lieberman says that he wants to stay at Homeland Security but that is not true. What he wanted and banked on was Mccain winning and then getting the Secretary of State position. He brokered the deal shortly before the RNC that is why he came out so strong against Obama and not just for Mccain. Another point that is interesting Lieberman said palin was more experienced than President Obama. Maybe he should go off with the bimbo if he thinks so highly of her. Lieberman made his bed now he shall lay in it. Don't think for a second he wouldn't have accepted the Secretary of State job.

    November 7, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. tommy


    November 7, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. Brian

    Good riddance! Lieberman has a keen instinct for weighing down allies and picking losers. Connecticut reelecting him is still a mystery to me.

    November 7, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. Sabu

    LIEBERMAN Please just go a way and take R.GIULIANI with you.

    November 7, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. California Gold

    Clearly Lieberman is a man who wants what he wants and if it means he sells out his political party, so be it. I have no respect for the way he bashed President Elect Obama during the campaign. It's one thing to support another party candidate but to insert himself in a firey campaign and go on the attack was not necessary. That is what has caused Lieberman's trouble with the Democrat party and his Congressional chairmanship. Really, what did he expect to result from bashing his party's candidate and rally with the opposing candidate?

    November 7, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. d

    That's a good thing. they don't need a traitor working with them he has made his bed. You didn't see Hagel on the stomp for Obama and you could tell that he was clearly for him but he was loyal to his party.

    November 7, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. Scott in PGH

    That didn't take long. The same people who hail Obama as the one who will work for every one are the firsts to call someone a traitor because he wasn't blindly partisan. Whay am I not surprised. Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans. No wonder the system is broken. I guess Obama and his supporters are no different from Bush and his cronies.

    November 7, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. JDC

    Liberals have to punish those who do follow the party line!

    November 7, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. Mark in Oregon

    Don't let the door hit you on your way out, Joe. Seems to me that the Dems are being overly conciliatory to you, by even allowing you to chair any kind of committee.

    November 7, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. AK

    Get lost Joe the Judas!

    November 7, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. Joe - Chicago, IL

    Relatively rediculous the 'punitive measures' admonations some have been whining about. When a party takes control of the senate from the other, all the previous comitee chairs are replaced with members of the new party.

    Lieberman overplayed his hand, the members of the caucas don't feel like indulging him any longer, so they'll move him to another comitee.

    November 7, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. Dana from NY

    I am sorry, Joe Lieberman is such a panderer- 8 years ago he is on the ticket with Gore...and durring this election season he was talking about "real americans" and working for John McCain. Now I respect that he is an independent- however an independent means just that- not a panderer to whichever party you think can do the most for you- but standing firm for something- whatever it is you believe and not waving back and forth depending on how the tides turn. Worst of all was his speech at the RNC... Obama has a thick skin and it has nothing to do with hurting anyone's feelings- however he shouldnt be sitting on any Democratic committee's when he clearly does not represent anything for the Democratic party! He was trying to get on the Titanic (John McCains coattales) when he thought it was the unsinkable ship- when it hit the iceberg- he wanted a lifeboat!
    He does not represent Democratic ideals- or where we Democrats want to take our party going forward! Hey Joe...don't let the door hit him where the good Lord split ya buddy!

    November 7, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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