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. Paul Wall in Dallas

    he should be grateful Reid offered him anything. veteran affairs would have been nice-he should have taken that. but with all his whining, i mean that literally, he actually whines, he needs to move on. and the republicans will have to keep their eyes on him once he joins their party. can you imagine 2012 and then he stabs the republicans in the back. he's going to run out of places to go. will his stat's voters even re-elect him. it's a cold world joe, i suggest a move to alaska.

    November 7, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  2. Renee

    Leiberman is Israel first and US second and that bothers me. His pro-Iraq war stance is all for the sake of Israel. What about the U.S. troops? That is why he backed McCain so fervently. Other than that, I think he IS a democrat. But I do question his loyalties to the U.S.

    November 7, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Matt

    Bye bye Jowls McJowlyface.

    November 7, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Dana

    As an Independent, I'm so disappointed that party politics has to rule the day. Joe Lieberman went with his convictions, and now is being punished by partisan Democrats. I thought all this was going to change when Obama came in? Or will it be politics as usual?

    November 7, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. Matt

    You people do realize that he was basically a Republican plant in the Democratic caucus don't you? I mean, sure, he voted with them most of th etime, but he had to or he couldn't continue to be a plant.

    November 7, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. Adam

    It's pretty sad that a free thinker like Lieberman is attacked like he is. He upsets partisans on both sides of the aisle at times, and that's a good thing as far as I'm concerned. He should find more souls like himself and start a new party, because, frankly, he doesn't fit well in either major party. Washington needs more moderation, not partisanship.

    November 7, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  7. R. Squibbs

    Screw him.

    It's one thing to campaign for McCain, saying positive things about why McCain would make a great President.

    It's another thing to bash Obama repeatedly on the campaign trail. No one forced Lieberman to go the negative campaigning route, and now he has to pay the price.

    November 7, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. John P.

    Listen, Joe. It's one thing to endorse someone outside your party, but to go on national TV at the Republican Convention and trash the nominee of the party that you caucus with? The party that rewarded you with a powerful committee chairmanship? You gotta expect a spanking, I'm sorry. I saw more of your mug standing behind John McCain in the last week of the campaign than I did Sarah Palin! So, either take your lumps or make a choice!

    November 7, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. Phillips in Seattle

    If anyone needs to grab his had and exit the room, it Harry Reid! He's a senile old man that, like my old Pontiac, has outlived its usefulness. With Obama as president, I was kind of hoping that Reid would exit as part of the "change."

    November 7, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. scooby-doo


    November 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. Mr. Republican

    Joe, we thank you very much for your support during the campain, but we don't need you anymore. The campain is over, we lost, your service to the GOP is no longer needed, except for one thing. You need to go back and caucus with dem, and let us know about all their secret plans so that we can be first to make them public (spoilers). We have to come up with a good name for you, like joe the rat....or something nicer.

    November 7, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. Lori

    Kick him out!!! I hope and pray that President-elect Obama does not feel sorry for this guy and the Democrats kick him out. Tell him to go ask John McCain for a job.

    Lieberman deserves no respect. It must suck being on the losing team. Ask Guiliani.

    November 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. Jerry

    Lieberman is in the Senate for nobody but Joe Lieberman. The man is an absolute disgrace.

    When you vote with the Democrats on everything except issues relating to the war in Iraq, how on earth can you consider caucusing with the Republicans?

    What do you stand for Joe? The most important crisis facing the nation is the economy. Do you support the Republican solution? I'm pretty sure you don't.

    You are a shallow, self-serving, vain man.

    November 7, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. sarah jane

    LISTEN TO YOURSELF....I cant believe what I am reading....he thought differently from the pack...and should therefore be kicked out?!?!?! He is entitled to his opinion and should not loose a position because of it.

    Democrats and Republicans stance on issues are NOT "all in" or youre out. Besides...he is an INDEPENDENT you should expect nothing less than for him to have opinions that land on either side (Democrat vs Republican)

    November 7, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. Brad, California


    November 7, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  16. Brad, California

    Lieberman's attention is on Israel, not the United States of America.

    November 7, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. Mike

    Flash News Dems: This guy got elected even without your help as a independent, you needed his help the last couple of yrs more than he needed yours. Maybe you can kick him off the chairmanship but you wont be kicking him off the senate because the people elected him and he is still popular

    November 7, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. Truth will set you free

    I am not surprised that the dems in congress and on these boards are so hateful and divisive. If you believed in Obama like you all said you did, then follow his lead. If you did not you are a sham which I think you all are anyway. I would gladly accept Lieberman even if he doesn't believe in everything I do.

    You folks are just the divisive group that will bring the REPUBS back into power very soon.

    November 7, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  19. Middleman

    Some people are portraying this as if Joe Liberman is being robbed of his rights, or this move is somehow revenge based. I'm not sure this is the case. Lieberman was a Democrat, but was most recently elected as an Independent. Then he supported Republicans.

    Actions have consequences.
    Spencer commented at 3:02 pm ET
    "I guess a man can't have his own political choices anymore."

    Sure they can. They always have choices, that's what is so great about a free society. You just can't claim to be my best friend, then sleep with my wife, and then say we're still best friends. The choice was be a friend, or sleep with my wife. You don't get it both ways.

    Sorry Joe, your actions, your choices, decided your fate. Not "vengeful" Democrats.

    November 7, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  20. anonymous

    Lieberman is a great leader to bad The Connecticut Democratic Party is run by a bunch of clueless people these days.

    November 7, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  21. BeefyDaddy

    Lieberman is a Republican – in both actions and divisive rhetoric.

    November 7, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  22. Earle

    Someone once said"Politics makes for strange bedfellows"....but changing beds was never an easy task....I find this situation extremely amusing....a fascinating travesty of good democracy at independent, democratic- a Russian General- rival – once terrorizing enemy turned friend said to he embraced democracy..."Only in America !"

    November 7, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. Andrea-St Louis

    Most of these comments are coming from hater Republicans!!! Do hate the players hate the game....and you guys lost..

    November 7, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  24. Curtis

    The Democrats have controlled Congress for 2 years and couldn't get the job done for the American people.
    We find out today that they are good at politics that help them keep their jobs and power.

    November 7, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. Dee

    Well anyone with any sense (regardless of political party) should be able to see that if he stabs one in the back, he'll do the same with the if he goes to the Republican side, it'll only be a matter of time before he runs them into the ground..

    He is only loyal to HIMSELF....I say good riddance...the Republicans need as many seats as they can get..who cares if it is for someone that has no morals...

    And I don't care that he didn't like Barack, there is a way to do everything and he did them the wrong way....

    November 7, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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