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. arc, Lugano CH

    Lieberman is in no position to dictate any terms for his future. Al Gore's selection of him as his running mate is as much the reason why the Democrats lost in 2000 as the criminal electoral fraud that was committed by the GOP (and once again in 2004).

    Joe Lieberman is a John McScum sympathizer and a GOP collaborator and supporter of the current war criminal administration of GWB.

    November 7, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Milhouse van Houten

    As one of the signatories that gave the country the misguided piece of
    legislation known as The Homeland Security Act,well that alone should be reason enough to banish Lieberman from caucus.

    November 7, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Susie oklahoma

    I had no problem with Lieberman backing McCain during the Presidential campaign BUT what he said and his actions during were not in his best interest nor in the Democrats best interest. Lieberman should step down and take Reid's advice. The American people will not believe anything coming out of Lieberman's mouth now. His credibility is shot. His whole "we need to stick together" comment wasn't even worth my time since he did everything he could to make it seem Obama wasn't a "real" American. His pathetic attempt to make amends will not work.

    November 7, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. Marky

    Maybe Lieberman can wear his lowest cut dress when he comes a flirtin".

    He's been playing both sides for his own enrichment for the past eight years. They're both suckers and they get what they deserve for dealing with this guy.

    November 7, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Old white lady in Birmingham, AL

    Lieberman is an opportunist. I hope the people of Vermont get rid of him next election.

    November 7, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. Allen Hussein

    Let Lieberman go to the Pugs, he will fit in well there. There is no way he should be allowed to be a committee chair, even a lesser committee. Reid was way too generous and Lieberman should be shown the door. Joe, please remember to not let that door hit you where the Good Lord split you .

    November 7, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  7. Pier Giacalone

    This should've happened after Lieberman conceded the 2000 election prematurely on behalf of Gore without his approval. Lieberman has been a cancer on the party that has been tolerated in order to keep a majority. Now that that is no longer needed, he needs to go.

    Like Ted Steven, Lieberman is a bankrupt politician who survives on years of built up IOUs in his district. Democrats in CT made it clear already that they don't want him so that should end the discussion. Boot him out.

    Lieberman's probably felt well at home with a theme of "Country First". The only problem is he's not talking about the USA.

    November 7, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Red, Red WHINE!!

    He was offered to chair a Committee everyone, just not a high profile committee. That was a VERY bi-partisan offer in my opinion. They didn't have to offer him chairman of ANY committee, but they did. He doesn't have to be happy with it. He has to take responsibility for throwing all of his colleagues under the bus and driving over them in reverse while singing 'kumbaya' while holding hands with McCain.

    November 7, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. O/B for Change

    You can thank the morons that re-elected him to begin with. He showed his true stripes then and hasn't looked back.

    November 7, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. kp

    I think a simple formal/public apology to Obama and the democratic caucas. I think people realize that Lieberman was a close friend of McCain and shouldn't punish him for supporting him. However there were some comments made by Lieberman that deserve an apology.

    Let him keep his seat and remain in the democratic caucas! Was anyone listening to Obama's victory speech? It's time to put this partisan @#^@% behind us. Let's not only pull Lieberman back into the fold but let's keep the olive branch out there for many other GOP moderates that will be needed to get things going in the right direction again.

    November 7, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. S.A.M. from Virginia

    He's lost his way. He needs to make up his mind whose side he's on.

    November 7, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. geno

    Come on Joe ... You know how this works..if you shot at the "DON" and miss, there are going to be consequences ... It's big boy sport act like a big boy, you not only hitched your wagon with McCain but you actively help pulled that wagon know the risk, now be a big boy in understand this isn't personnel it's just business!

    November 7, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. GARY


    November 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. J.L.

    Well if he jumps ships and switches to a Republican, most likely he can kiss his Senate position goodbye in 2012... the Northeast already trending even more blue, don't think an (R) behind his name will help. Although... even in the case that he doesn't switch, his days might be numbered come 2012. The only reason he won in 2006 was the fact that some Democrats voted for him, maybe giving him a chance, and a bunch of Republicans pushed him over the top. 2012 will most likely be a different story, given his stance and the things he's done since the last election...

    November 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. Lamont supporter 2006

    It's funny....Lieberman says it's unnaceptable to him.... What he has forgotten to realize that he is supposed to represent his constituents, not his own views. What he wants is irrelevant, what do the voters of CT who elected him want?

    November 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. Tony

    Let McShame andMcConnell take care of him. Reid should offer him ziltch, zero, nada.

    November 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. michael

    get rid of this sleaze he is nothing but an opportunist who will go anywhere the sun is up to the voters of connecticut to kick him out for good..let the gop have him good riddance!!!!!!!!!!

    November 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. BAT

    see...of those old people decide to remove whatever who they enjoy to... that is WRONG. America Government will FELL DOWN! watch this!

    November 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. Christine CT

    I can tell you for sure, CT is not happy with Sen. Lieberman. He has changed from Dem., to indpendent, to Rep., in the past 6 years and it is all too clear that he thinks with his own interest in mind. I'm not a fan of partisan politics, but when someone is this indecisive and fair-weathered, he's not working in the best interest of his country nor is he representing his state effectively.
    My recommendation is to retire. We need solid, decisive leaders at this time in our country.

    November 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. Jorge Gonzalez

    Good riddance! Lieberman might as well caucus with the Republicans. Why have a Benedict Arnold in your midst. The sooner he switches, the better. I am glad they lit a fire under him to "take it or leave it." I appreciate seeing that kind of quick action. With the good number of Democrats in the Senate, kowtowing to him was getting old.

    November 7, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. gt


    November 7, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Mike Glovier

    I've always like Lieberman until he jumped ship and stood behind McCain in almost every press release and seemed to take a stand against some of the most important issues the Democrat party stands for. The way I see it if he no longer agrees with the platform and ideals of the Democrat party/ Independent then he needs to move over to the minority of Republicans in the Senate. He is a traitor and should be removed from any leadership roles within the Senate representing the party. Move over traitor we don't need your kind anymore in Washington.

    November 7, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. Jules

    Betrayal comes with a price!

    November 7, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. anonimoose1

    I'm a conservative Republican who could not vote for McCain, and would not Vote for Obama. So the last thing we need while going through this period of catharsis is Leiberman. Give him a one way ticket to Israel.

    November 7, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. Old white lady in Birmingham, AL

    oops I meant connecticut it has been a long week...

    November 7, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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