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. Brendose, Oceanside CA

    Well, I'm not too happy with Lieberman. He is a two-faced liar. He has gone to the dark side.

    Let him become a republican!!

    November 7, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. Luz Viernes

    It seems not to long ago, when the Democrats are trying to get rid of Mr. Lieberman. The commentators must have a short memory, especially those people who are telling that Mr. Lieberman a "Traitor"! Where are these people when they tried to get rid of Mr. Lieberman?
    His Party is Democrat but he was force to become Independent because of "Traitors of the Democratic Party". I believe that every citizen has the freedom to choose whoever they support! It looks like Democrats supporters are becoming "Totalitarians"! I must say "shame on you people" I am not even an American, but I understand the meaning of "Freedom of Want, Freedom of Speech, & Freedom to choose!

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

    All the blue dog democrats are gone now...., the democratic party has become the liberal party be defacto.

    November 7, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Joe the hedge fund manager, Los Angeles, CA

    Joe Liberman is a good man.

    You democrats would be lucky to have more like him. He was good enough to be your VP candidate in 2000, now you want to throw him away because he is standing up for a STRONG USA.

    Too bad the rest of your party are such chicken hawks and would/will NOT KEEP OUR COUNTRY SAFE.

    November 7, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. The Enforcer

    I love how some of you GOP leaning mugs want the democrats to be soft & squishy on Lieberman.

    You need to lose this image of the Democrats as weak punks ... bleeding heart liberals I think is the term you use ...

    We are going to whip Joe Liberman's you-know-what because he deserves to have it whipped. Isn't it you Republicans that keep saying that enemies don't respect kindness?

    If we were stuck at 59 Senators, Liberman might have a chance but now the greater good for the party is to make an example of him.

    You don't tug on Superman's cape Joe ...

    November 7, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Kathy in Indiana

    He is pure evil – get rid of him. Use him as an example of what happens to traitors!

    November 7, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. Soccer Nana

    Good riddance!!

    November 7, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. Pat

    To "Lapdog" Lieberman: Bad dog. Go away. Shoo!

    November 7, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. Kazai Zedee

    At this point, opportunism is at the top of Liberman's motivation to want to caucus with the Democrats. He understood perfectly what he was doing during the campaign and blindly expected that McCain would have won. My hunch tells me that he would have had no problem caucusing with the Republicans had the elections results turned out the way he gambled it to have been. At this point, when you have made it perfectly clear that Obama's policies were socialistic or Marxist, you run the risk of having a chair the is well positioned to vote against the president's agenda or not bring it to the floor at all. I say, KICK HIM OUT and let him caucus with the party that he suddenly believes in; the Republican Party.

    November 7, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Helene

    But HE IS a Republican, and the worst kind. One who stabs people in the back, betrays his friends, and would do anything for power. To the dog house, droopy dog !

    November 7, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. Leroy the lion trainer

    It's Harry "dingy" Reid the democrats should get rid of...not Joe.

    Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are going to lead the democrats to huge losses in the House and Senate in 2010 and 2012.

    They, along with Obama, will take this Country too far left.

    November 7, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. Joe the Boxer

    Joe should stop trying to play games with the people and his colleagues. The time has come for an offer "he can't refuse" by the Democratic Senate..............
    One cannot claim to be a Democrat leaning Independant Senator while having backed Bush on a major policy like Iraq, and campaigning against the Democratic Presidential candidate. He
    thinks he's slick......but he's a fool....He's "boxed" himself into a "corner" he won't be able to get out of.........

    November 7, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. Ron L

    Joe Lieberman is NOT a Democrat. When he came down so hard on Obama at the REPUBLICAN convention HE established that fact not the Press or anyone one else. He had an option, when he spoke he could have simply promoted the POSITIVES of Senator McCain and not attempted to undermine Sen. Obama. To me there are lines you have to respect when you are critical of fellow politicians. HE CROSSED IT!! This is similiar to when Hillary made it sound like Barack was unqualified to be President. That GUARANTEED she would not be his V.P.. Joe selected to back the loser and now he will have to leave the Democrats. For every action there is an equal reaction. This applies to ALL things..

    November 7, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. Patrick

    So much for a new bi-partisan approach to Washington. We need more independnets there, I'm proud of Lieberman.

    November 7, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Brian NY

    The Dems are going to run off people like Lieberman and let their true liberal colors come shining through. The first 100 days will be a whirlwind of liberal legislation rammed through to solidify and cement their grip on power.

    Once they have solidified their grip on power they will violently swing even further to the left and start ramming through legislation to support their radical liberal agenda. This will go largely unnoticed by the public due to the approval of the media and political punditry.

    By mid-term, the stagnant economy and bleeding of jobs will force the liberal government to turn back to the center to try and stem the rising tide of discontent. A wave of Democratic losses in the mid-term elections will be the first shot across the bow warning them that their policies are failing.

    Into the 2012 election season, lack of growth in the economy due to increased tax burden and a series of foreign policy blunders will lead to a revival of the Republican party.

    November 7, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. Jackson

    So he is "keeping his options open"...this does not sound like a man interested in anything but his own future. I have never seen anyone so blatantly for sale. Good luck with the reelection campaign, Tessio.

    November 7, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Steve

    Lieberman HAS voted with the Democrats, but well in the past. His aligment with Republican philosophies in the election, and other activities of late, show that he's solidly in the Republican camp, no matter what he actually says. This is not reaching across the aisle. This is walking across the aisle and taking a seat. Big difference. If I were Reid, I'd let him caucus with Democrats...for now....but his misbehaviors during the election should cost him his seats on high profile committees.

    November 7, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  18. Mike S.

    Joe Libermann is the most insignificant man in US politics to date. When the dems are on top he wants to be a dem, when the republicans are on top, he wants to be one of those. He will not make or break anything this congress needs to do. Joe Libermann, we don't care if you sit at home for the next 4 years, you are just not that important. Move on.

    November 7, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  19. DickNH

    Joe, we hardly knew ye!
    Your arguments fall on deaf ears, and rightly so!
    Your hubris is amazing!

    November 7, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. PK

    Lieberman can choose to be unhappy that he is downgraded just as he chose to allege that Obama lacked experience. But to have true integrity, it is best that that he stop pretending to be Independent. Independents speak from their own platform at not appear at either Democrat or Republican platforms. Colin Powell is more independent than Lieberman.

    November 7, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  21. carmen

    Mr. Opportunity looking for a place to happen. Go away and take your lucky red sweater for McCain with you, please!

    November 7, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  22. America loses

    Lieberman we need representation of the 56 million that voted for the patriot, you are welcome to join the conservative movement.

    November 7, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. sue

    This is how politics works – like it or not.

    I have a feeling that when he went Independent the Democrats would have preferred to have him step down then, but since it was only 51-49, they didn't try to do anything about it at the time. Now that the Dems have a slightly larger majority, they can risk replacing him with someone who is still a Dem and hasn't declared himself an Independent.

    I don't blame Lieberman for changing to Indie or for supporting the candidate of his choice. I really don't understand though why he would be surprised that he would be asked to step down though once the Dems got more of a majority.

    If a republican had done the same as Lieberman and they got a larger majority in the senate, I expect they would do the same.

    November 7, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  24. BS not Maverick

    Don't let the door hit your tail on the way out!

    November 7, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  25. Jake

    In another 4 years, Democrats will be exposed for who they really are.

    Hate and Destroy whatever gets in my way. It's disgusting. These comments are making me want to puke.

    It actually is showing the true ignorance on the left. While the internet provides many avenues to explore, it also provides a platform for DUMB!

    Please just read some of your comments with an open mind.

    November 7, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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