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. TyWebb

    Lieberman / Palin 2012! Yeah! Wait...what am I saying...?

    November 7, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Jim at the Beach

    One of the big problems with Lieberman is that he not only supported McCain which probably could be overlook, but that he campaigned for some Republicans down ticket including Senators and House Members which had he been successful would have upset the balance in the Congress. If he campaigned for Republicans let him sit with them.

    November 7, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. Mark Leslie

    I agree, The Republicans and for that matter the Independents can have him. Can you believe that the Democratic party once supported this clod for Vice President.

    Thanks for the gratitude Joe.

    November 7, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. Dennis

    Wow, I had a hunch that Democrats were all talk when it comes to reconciling with both parties but this is proof that most of the people responding here and on capitol hill are hypocrites. Yes, tell Americans that now we are all going to come together but but not until we settle some scores. It is amazing that we want our elected officials to be open and honest about what they believe just as Joe did in his support of McCain but when they do we attack them if it is not within the party line.

    Hypocrites, HYPOCRITES, HYPOCRITES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 7, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Jeanette Issano

    Adios Benedict Lieberman.

    November 7, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. Nick in Chicago

    For all the people here who keep talking about bipartisanship this is not a bipartisan issue! This is an issue of the Senate Democratic caucus. If the Democrats feel that Lieberman does not represent their values why would they want him to chair a committee and be a member of their caucus? Democrats have control of the Senate, so the make the appointments. He had every right to support McCain, that is not the issue. The issue is that he does not hold the same values that the rest of the Democratic caucus holds.

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

    Change you can believe in.

    The new mantra for the democrats will be to see how fast they can throw people under the bus. Only 2 elections ago, Lieberman was good enough to be their VP pick. Get rid of the one person in the democratic caucus who actually put his country ahead of his political ambitions.

    Do not go against the One, for you may be crucified.

    Someone needs to track all of the efforts to silence others that the Obama camp has been doing. The list is already huge.

    November 7, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. Sujith, NE

    You deserve what you get – RAT !

    November 7, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  9. When we are going to wake up?

    Old patriots do not fade away.
    They just get treated like crap.


    November 7, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  10. vw

    A typical dirtest politics run by democratic party and some special interest in this party.

    Both Liberman and John McCain are really men we respect.

    November 7, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. Go Joe Go

    Joe, try out the Republican Party and see if that is what you really want. I bet you will be running back to the Dems once you have a chance. You reap what you sow Joe.

    November 7, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  12. Polly

    National security is more important than opinions, don't you think? He only supported the man he trusted to be our Commander in Chief.

    November 7, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. Fred J.

    Seeya Lieberman; don't let the door hit you where G-d split ya. You made your bed, Senator, time to Lie in it.

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

    So much for unifying the country. Apparently, if you didn't support Obama, you're a non-person. I just wonder how long it will take before free speech is gone, too.

    November 7, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  15. UFO

    He attacked Obama at the Rep. convention even though he promised NOT TO ATTACK........ He could have just stated why he liked McCain. That's what he promised to do. With friends like him, you don't need enemies!!!

    November 7, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. Joseph, Los Angeles

    Let him go!

    November 7, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. alex

    I think Sen. Lieberman, is a traitor, an opportunist and racist. He needs to go and join his newly found republicans friends.

    November 7, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  18. Mickie

    He belongs with the republicans anyway. After the way he spoke against Pres. Elect Obama, I think Reid was gracious to offer him anything. When you have a fox in the henhouse you get rid of the fox, you don't appease him.
    I love how these people are asking Obama to hurry up and get started. Wake up - he is not sworn in as President until January 20th and therefore cannot make any changes until then. This is the problem with people who think he is going to change everything at once - give the poor man a chance.

    November 7, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. Democrat

    With friends like Lieberman, who needs enemies

    November 7, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. Peter (CA)

    Hey foaming at the mouth right wingers--
    The update shows he was offered leadership of the Veteran's Affairs committee. That is pretty plum and not the slap in the face Lieberman is making it out to be.

    Obama needs to work with leaders who understand his position. If Lieberman is going to be difficult on Homeland Security, it is up to Reid to replace him. Otherwise, more gridlock.

    November 7, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. Intelligentia

    There can be no rational reason to keep Joe Lieberman as the Homeland Security Chairman. My initial concern was that the Jewish community will look at it as Obama going after a Jew; however, that is no longer a valid concern with the appointment of Rahm as the White House Chief of Staff. Lieberman must go, not for supporting McCain, but for disrespecting Obama! Lieberman can justifiably support McCain to pay back the Democrats for not supporting his re-election; however, he made it personal when he went after Obama. This is Obama's show now, he can choose who can play, to help him win. Homeland Security is a key Department that only an individual with total ideological alignment with the President should chair it. By the way, Chertoff must go too!

    November 7, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. Lee from FL

    Joe seems to forget very quickly!

    November 7, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  23. wesley

    I don't see Colin Powell looking for a position with the republicans!

    November 7, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. Gayle

    Lieberman made a decision and now let him live with the consequences for his action. He should go period.

    November 7, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. James

    Peopel he supported John McCain because McCain is a moderate Republican. He had to run as an independent and was elected as a independent not a Dem! Thoes of you that think McCain is right wing need to examine your heads!

    November 7, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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