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. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    So let me get this straight, Joe. Just because you turned your back on your party, disparaged its nominee and supported an opponent who lied repeatedly about Obama without saying a word to correct the untruths is no reason to remove you from your powerful committee Chairmanship and you find it 'not acceptable' to be given a different committee Chairmanship? I think Reid is being very gracious to you. Perhaps you got used to the Bush Administration's policy of not holding anyone accountable for their actions. You are very much a Republican Joe. You are welcome to switch parties at any time. Don't let the door hit you on your way out.

    November 7, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. JoelWhy

    If Lieberman jumps ship, he must realize that he'll be voted out of office in four years. Connecticut may have been okay with electing a left-leaning Independent, but I think they'll draw the line at a Republican who campaigned hard against Obama.

    November 7, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. Wait...What?

    Just from watching Joe up there, noding to everything McCain said, how can you trust this guy? CT get it right this time. If you don't want him in the primary then don't vote for him in the election, ok?

    November 7, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. John in Ohio

    To Joe:




    November 7, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. S. Boatman Warrensburg, Mo.

    Joe Is Going Down Like Mccain! The Speech He Gave At The Convention Was Un Acceptable And He Should Have His Chair Stripped Away! Let The Republicans Give Him A Position!

    November 7, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. Ms. Jenny

    I have no real problem with Lieberman supporting McCain. My problem was with the way he attacked Obama. If you wanna support the other guy, fine. But that doesn't mean you need to tear apart Obama. For this, he should get the boot.

    November 7, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. Even Steven

    The problem is not that he supported McCain, it's the way he went about doing it. He promised the Democratic leadership that he would stick to supporting Johnnie Mac on the issues and that it wouldn't be negative, personal attack-type campaign. He lied and now he has to pay the political consequences.

    November 7, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. James

    I hope they kick Leiberman off the committees that he's in...he's obviously only in politics with dirty intentions.

    November 7, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. Kate

    He's a traitor. The last place we need a traitor is on Homeland Security Committee. He has earned the harshest punishment. The Dems do not need his vote. The American people have spoken in a powerful way to the Republicans. Joe, be smart, stay on the winning side, accept your punishment. Otherwise become a Republican, and flounder around just like the rest of them, trying to find an identity.

    November 7, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. ChicoSez

    What a bunch of sore winners. Even with the election over , Obamabots can't let go of their hate. Cheap personal atacks have characterized the entire Obama campaign and the cheap shots are still coming. Obama spent more money on negative ads than any other candidate in HISTORY and the haters still arent satisfied. Its going to be a LONG four years. Support Obama or else.

    November 7, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. sandee in Portland

    Since he's an independent, he is allowed to swing both ways. Unfortunately, he swung in the the direction of the republicans during this campaign. He just picked the wrong horse to win the race. That said, however, he should be allowed to keep his seat. After all, he is neither democrat or republican, but independent.

    November 7, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  12. Christine CT

    Frank C:


    November 7, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. ST

    What did he think was going to happen? He turned his back on the Dems a long time ago, now it's time for him to pay the piper. He did this to himself. It's one thing to endorse someone from another party, it's another to talk crap about the candidate from your own.

    November 7, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. James

    Doesn't Obama share many of the same views a Liberman? He is Pro-choice, against gay marriage and pro-millitary. Kind of a conservative dem?

    November 7, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Polly

    I hope he stays right where he is.

    November 7, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. Reality

    GOOD !!! LIEBERMAN is a LOSER !!!

    November 7, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. john challis, New York, New York.

    This guy is unbelievable. He doesnt take responsibility for any of the postions he has taken, wether it be the war, his disloyalty at the convention and you could go on endlessly. Had McCain won he would have been Sec.of Defence- but now his poor judgement has been shown again he wants all his perks back.
    I despise this man and will have no confiedence in leader Reid if he doesnt take action against him

    November 7, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. John in Ohio

    When you speak at the Republican Convention, against the Democrat candidate, you lose your Democrat card. That simple. They're not taking away his vote in the Senate or anything, but they are saying that when you are an Independent supporting Republicans, you don't get to be in Democrat roles on Democrat committees.

    November 7, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. dave harlow

    I thought you folks were all loving and forgiving and sharing and working together.... haven't seen to much of that from you folks on any of these comment pages.

    November 7, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. Randy

    Hey Joe – Go for it. Let's see how the Republicans like a pro choice liberal. You betrayed your party – too bad for you!

    November 7, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  21. Sam

    It isn't really a question of punishment so much as the fact that Lieberman's views on security issues are 180 degrees from the democrats' views. As such, how can he be the Senate Dems' leader on that issue?

    November 7, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. KJL

    Lieberman was too disrespectful to the Democrats, and President-elect Obama in particular, to be taken seriously by anyone. Let the Republicans have him. As we've seen from the Palin fiasco, they aren't fussy.

    November 7, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  23. nelson

    Lieberman should just leave, plain and simple..can't be trusted
    and that means "not trustworthy" to me. "Bye" Lieberman "and don't
    let the door hit you in the behind" when leaving. btw. "turn out the lights will ya"

    November 7, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. ChicoSez

    Gosh, my comment critical of Obama and his hate-filled minions didn't make it past the moderator. What a surprise

    November 7, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. Rainy

    Move on are no longer needed. You belong with the losers.

    Hypocritical is a term that best describes you.

    November 7, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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