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. Moderate in N.E.

    Dan, you stated: "A statesman like Lieberman who acts independently, and in the best interests of the people he serves rather than blindly voting the party-line is a rare commodity. He's too good to be a Democrat." I would disagree. I am from Connecticut and have had nothing but regret for the last two years that Lieberman is my "representative" in the Senate. He has voted with the repubs way too often and viscously. I realize that it looks like he has supported the democrats, but not on the imporatant issues. Ct voters overwhelmingly let him know in 2006 that we wanted our troops out of Iraq. So what did our representative do when he got back to washington after the 2006 election? He laughingly voted with the repubs to block the democrats in their efforts to fulfill their election promises. He laughed. If you dont believe me, pull up some footage from the votes following the 2006 election. There is footage of he joining the republs dancing and laughint at the dems defeat. It disgusted me. The speach at the convention was but icing on the cake. He had been informed that he could speak - no worries, just don't attack the dems candidate. He did so again and again. He is not a man of principal or integrity. If the dems want to keep him, fine, but it should definetely be out of signficant positions of trust - he is not a leader.

    November 7, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. laura


    November 7, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. Ethan

    Yes, I thought the Dems were all about bipartisanship. I think we need more Joe Liebermans in Washington.

    November 7, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. Steve, AL

    I would like Pres-elect Obama to step in and put this conflict to bed. If you want to change the way things are done in Washington, people must be allowed to make decisions based on what they think is best without fear of reprisals. While his convention speech did cross the line a bit, I still think he should remain in place.

    You've got to BUILD bridges, not burn them.

    November 7, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. Julie

    We can't move any further on this issue until we hear what Joe the plumber has to say!!!
    Joe?...Is Joe here?....Where's Joe?.....Well we're all Joe the Plumber!!!!

    November 7, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. Tim

    Here is a thought, why don't you do whatever it is that you promised your constituents. I don't understand how you can be representing the interests of those who voted for you when you have gone from Democrat to Independent to de facto Republican. Maybe that is an accurate reflection of your personal feelings, but it isn't fair to the voters of Connecticut.

    November 7, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. mike

    Oh I see. Good old CNN posts comments that for the most part coincide with their agenda. Comparing Lieberman to Benedict Arnold is like comparing apples to oranges. This is not directed at anyone in particular, just the majority of boobs that have thus far commented. Your President-elect would be ashamed if read some of the nonsense posted here.

    November 7, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. S.M

    He campaigned for another party but yet called himself a Democrat. Lieberman thought that McCain and Palin would be elected, but was fooled. He can't be trusted.

    November 7, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Mia-Stafford

    Liberman wants to have it both ways.

    No one cares I certainly don't that he supported John McCain.
    What is unacceptable is how he went after Barack Obama and then expect the Democrats to still let him Chair a major committee.

    If he decides he wants to caucus with the GOP that is his business, but what I am pretty sure about is he won't be able to hold onto his Senate seat the next election.

    November 7, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. frank

    It is time for Joe " The Traitor " Lieberman looking to new buddy Mitch McConnell at the same party. The Democratic party did not want a traitor in the party anyway.

    November 7, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. Charm

    Good riddance ya traitor!

    November 7, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  12. Jin

    Mr. Obama will be our next President. We now need to stop Hating and start healing. God help us ALL.

    November 7, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. April

    What did he expect?

    November 7, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. An Independent Hillary

    Reid is a jerk! So much for speaking your mind about what you think is right. Even with the Messiah in office, looks like we're back to divisive and vengeful politics as usual...

    November 7, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |

    HEY HEY HO HO Joe Lieberman HAS GOTTA GO!!

    November 7, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. Christopher Ihebereme O

    We are who we are and seize to be what we profess when we allow divsions to be the stepping stone on which to establish a new administration.
    The dream of our fathers was and should always be a country of the free, where people are free to make their choices and express their opinions whether it pleases the ruling party or government or not. Since there is no blue, red, green, white, yellow or black America, Joe Liberman went according to his guts and believes above party lines to express his views and convinctions. He is not supposed to be punished because he loved America more than he loved his party, personal ego or political prowess.
    If he has not been effective as chairman of the homeland security, then Harry Reid might be justified in his action, but if he has been effective, demoting him because he alligned with senator John MCcain against senator and president elect Obama and the democrats, is and will continue to be the same cankerworm that has continued to eat deep into the roots and rubrics of our political leadership, and that which needs to be addressed for effective governance.
    It is like denying a child food because he asked the mom not to sleep with a stranger.

    November 7, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  17. Mady

    As adults we make decisions, sometimes bad ones and we have to stick to them. He made his choice so now he has to live with it. I'm sure he'll get by.

    November 7, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. Mike D


    November 7, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. Stephanie

    The Republicans can keep him! He's lucky to get any offer at all.

    November 7, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. PCS / North Carolina

    THE TRAITOR. Let the GOP have him. He was Al Gore's running mate in 2000, and would do this to Obama, just because he is half white.! We do not no his intensions, HE MAY BE SIDING WITH ANOTHER COUNTRY, kick him out of the homeland Security position.

    November 7, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Nick in Chicago


    Lieberman supporting McCain is not the issue! 1. He lost the Democratic primary in 2006, 2. He decided to run as an independent. 3. He is no longer a Democrat, but is in their caucus 4. If the Democrats feel that he does not represent their values they have every right to ask him to step down from his committee chair and leave their caucus.

    November 7, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. kent

    Let Joe go, maybe he can be a plumber, since he seemed to hang around with the other Joe for the last month. Bye, Bye

    November 7, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. mjc

    Joe Lieberman made it very clear that his loyalty is with his best friend John McCain. He will continue to align himself with John McCain and the Republicans no matter what.

    Atleast with John McCain, you know where he stands. I think the Democrats should forget about Joe Lieberman and shift their efforts to working in a bi-partisan manner with John McCain. We'll find out soon enough if John McCain is a true "Maverick" or not if he chooses to set the TONE of bi-partisanship right off the bat.

    We need BOTH parties to work together for the sake of our country.

    November 7, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Ryan

    This is how all politicians should be. There shouldn't be a you are Republican, and you are a Democrat attitude. If you work across the isle better things will happen to this country.

    November 7, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. Jake

    Liberals get over all your hate. You liberals that continue to HATE, are a joke to America. Unbelievable!!

    As a Republican, I accept and support President elect Obama. That is the difference between you and me. I'm a true American!

    November 7, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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