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. James

    I don't think that Obama would agree with this!

    November 7, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. The Other Campaign Strategist from115th & Amsterdam Ave

    Go Joe ... Go Now .... Do you think the Republicans want you?

    Do you think you can get re-elected in 4 years by running as a Republican when Obama will be running for re-election as a successful Democratic President.

    Hell, I might move back to Glastonbury and run as a Democrat against you.

    Q: How many Republican members of Congress are there in New England?

    A: Less and less... just ask Christopher Shays ....

    November 7, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. Pam

    Joe the Traitor must go.
    Republicans can have him.
    Except we don't know when he will also stab Republicans on the back too.

    November 7, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. DN

    Senator Lieberman should be a part of the Republican caucus because he chose the Republican candidate over the Democratic candidate. He just appears to simply no longer see himself as a Democrat. There should be no animosity. The only two issues I have with Joe Lieberman is that he went from being the VP nominee for the Democratic party in 2000 to campaigning with the Republican candidate just 8 years later! But, more significantly, he attacked his own party's nominee. Endorse your friend, but don't attack the man who represents your party. To keep him with the Democrats just for the numbers would be dishonest.

    November 7, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. SAB

    Joe is getting just what he deserves. So let him examine his options and hopefully he will choose the one the was extended to him by Sen. Harry Reid.

    November 7, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. lela morgan

    I don't see how leiberman could have the nerve to tell the Democrats how it is going to be. In his next election his state will take care of him. a lot of republicans voted for him. I think he should join the mitch McConnel group, and for sure he will not win another term.


    November 7, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Caelan

    Haha, nothing on this board is bipartisan. Repubs praise Joe for agreeing with them, and saying its because he was bipartisan is bull because McCain couldn't win the nomination when he was socially liberal. And Dems curse him for disagreeing with them. So all anybody has said is either 'thanks for agreeing with me' or 'curse you for disagreeing'. The man is an independent for a reason, his opinions bounce around. Politics isn't a team sport, Emanuel was a brilliant choice for Chief of Staff, hopefully we see Obama balance perspectives on his cabinet in the coming months. Drop the cynicism and post intelligent commentary, not verbiage you would see on a sign at a football game.

    November 7, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. PCS / North Carolina

    Hayden November 7th, 2008 2:03 pm ET

    "What a bunch of sore losers you people are. " – WHO ARE THE LOSERS ? ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THE GOP ?

    "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? " – JOE L DID NOT DISAGREE WITH OBAMA , HE WAS THE ATTACK DOG FOR GOP

    "Lieberman is an elected Independent Senator who doesn't owe any party. – YEAH, SO DEMOCRATS DO NOT OWE HIM ANYTHING EITHER. SO KICK THE TRAITOR OUT OF THE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE.

    November 7, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. Richard Khan

    I agree with some comments that were left regarding the "change" in Washington. Obama preached change during the election and won based on that, and now the democrats in the house wants to punish one of there own because he excersise his contitutional right. We live in a country where we are free to vote for whoever we want to, we are free to have political opinions and we are free to question our leaders, why is that this man is being punish. This is not a third world country, we are the envy of the world because of our democracy and our peaceful transfer of power. What I really dislike is that if you go negative on Obama or disagree with are the wrong one..ask Hilary, she experience that.

    November 7, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. Leesa -ABQ

    Change for Nothing...what planet are you on?

    November 7, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. Polly

    Just because you're a Democrat or Republican doesn't mean you have to support that party's Presidential candidate. You have the right to decide for yourself who you think will be the best choice.

    November 7, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. Charles Atlanta

    Legislative branch will figure this out by themselves. Guys calm down.. It is not your business unless you're Connecticut's resident.

    November 7, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. Nadine

    Let him go! The GOP not getting much out of him anyway. This country has to move to the future. The american people has spoken loud and clear, "The tired old negative, slimy, attacks ain't going to create jobs and put folks to work. They can have Joe the "idiot"!

    November 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  14. Baraka

    I think Lieberman should do what he has probably been contemplating and just declare himself as a Republican. He followed the Republican party line all the way up to the day of the election. Of course now that the candidate he supported did not win, he graciously admits (without actually saying the words) that he was wrong and he will support President-Elect Obama. However, I think that if he wants to keep caucasing with the Dems he is going to have to "fall on his sword" and take a lower post. Yes, it is a punishment and a deserved one considering the harsh criticisms he foisted at Obama the entire campaign.

    November 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |


    November 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. Mike Dallas

    While Joe can support anyone he wants and should be able to remain in the Democratic party, his words at the RNC indicate he would be much happier as a Republican. Personal actions have accountability, and those actions have repercussions, so he should leave or stay but without his chairmanship.

    Now Republicans have indicated they want him so all is good.

    November 7, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. PDSimic

    A certain degree of loyalty is expected as a practical matter of running an important committee whose chairperson is there by the grace of the Democratic caucus. Lieberman showed no loyalty to his next president Obama, nor to his fellow democrats (many of which have been for reelection his year).

    This is simply to say that democrats do not owe him anything.

    As far as his qualifications, note that given his disagreement with Obama's foreign policy ideas and war in Iraq, Lieberman certainly is not best qualified to run this important committee consistent with his new president vision. Republicans could offer him something from a positions they control but I doubt they would trust him either.

    November 7, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. Steve

    Lieberman is in no position to demand anything. By showing up at the Republican convention he pissed off every Democratic Connecticut voter, which is by far the majority. The party he created to get elected in Connecticut dumped him as their candidate last year since he had nothing more to do with them. He is going to have a VERY tough time getting re-elected next cycle!!!!

    He is our state's 2nd worst traitor in Connecticut history, after Benedict Arnold!!

    November 7, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. Joyce in Florida

    Get rid of this guy. I am so sick of seeing him and his flip flopping just to play along with what is happening at the time. He has been a disgrace and should be let go. And, if he isn't let go, then put him in a position that he won't be much of a bother anymore. What a loser.

    November 7, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. Mike

    Joe the plumber meet Joe the clueless, turncoat. Yes Barack did vote 90% with dem.'s. As evidenced by the election the majority of America felt those votes were consistent with what most of us wanted. War was obviously one thing among many Obama felt strongly against. So all you war mongering, spend happy, right wing lemmings can now join the rest of the unemployed who most you were responsible for.

    November 7, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. KC - Iowa

    Let him go! The guy campaigned with McCain and belittled Obama. Lieberman might be the biggest loser in all of this. I'm not sure either side wants him.

    By the way folks, being bipartisan doesn't mean letting people walk all over you!!!!

    November 7, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. ines

    Sounds like a mercenary.

    NO PARTY – – – of any sort – – – would ever find Lieberman anything- – -but a LIABILITY.

    November 7, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. therealist

    This is the bipartisan change that Obama promised??

    November 7, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. vs

    Loserman you need to lose yourself twofaced idiot

    November 7, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. Little Hawk

    If the Democrats can't get to 60 votes even with Lieberman to avoid a filibuster then I say don't give him a chairmanship of any committee and let him switch to the Republicans if he wants. He's not needed. I live in Connecticut and we're all waiting for 2012 to see him lose that Senate election no matter what party he decides to affiliate with.

    November 7, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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