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. Jamie

    The problem isn't that he said he wanted McCain, the problem is that he used Obama to get votes when he needed them and then, instead of just saying 'I'm voting for McCain' and slinking away, he made a point to talk about how Obama was awful. He didn't care when he wanted the votes for himself. He backed McCain b/c he thought McCain was going to win. That is the only reason. He is all out for himself, as he was with the recount in 2000.

    November 7, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. kimfromatlanta

    That is very generous of Harry Reid. He should be put out of the party for good. Judas!!!

    November 7, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. Doug R.

    Benedict Joe LIEberman. This man is a snake. He was all over McCain during the campaign. Bashing Obama and the Democrat party and whispering things to McCain. Throw him off the committees. I wouldn't even give him an option.

    November 7, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Luke S.

    Last I knew, he was an Independent.... If they want their 60 seats, the Democrats are going to have to do some sucking up...

    November 7, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    In a way Democrats still need this guy vote on policies. So they wont kick him to the curve. That way we can only ask for two republican votes for Obama's agenda. I still cant believe Alaska voted to keep an eight felon Ted Stevens in office. They are disgusting.

    November 7, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. Sam

    Clean up Washington and get rid of LieBerman..He is disgusting and we will never forget that horrific speech he gave at the RNC convention. I don't know how he got into the Senate in the first place.

    November 7, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. Benjamin Columbus, OH

    Now is not the time for excuses, Sen. Lieberman!

    You made your feelings crystal clear at the RNC in September and those decisions come with consequences.

    If Sen. McCain had prevailed, you'd certainly be handsomely rewarded for your support.

    But the guy you tore down is now the President-elect, the Dems don't need you in the caucus anymore, and most citizens outside of Connecticut can't stand the sight of a traitor.

    Take the reprecussions like an adult or join the partty that will have a stranglehold on the minority for at least the rest of your Senate career.


    November 7, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |

    All Lieberman has left is his 'dignity' and 'integrity'. If the Dems – rightfully – call his bluff and let him go, if he neds up voting with the republicans out of spite, then LIeberman's integirty goes out the window and he will never get re-elected. I say get rid of the bum. THere is no down-side to letting him go; no upside to keeping him!

    November 7, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Vic of New York

    Here's my take:

    Lieberman, who I once trusted, is a snake. His days as a Senator from Connecticut are numbered. I would not trust him to run any key committee under the Democrats. The Republicans don't trust him either. Let him go to them. I'm sure the conservative base will "welcome" him with open arms and turn to him to help them restructure that self-imploded party.

    GOOD BYE Sentor Lieberman – and good riddens!

    November 7, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |

    Kick this traitor out as far as possible.

    November 7, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. Chip

    I'm so surprised, no one on here has mentioned whether or not they approve of his performance as chairman of the committee. All I see is vitriolic exchanges for the 2000 Democrat VP nominee. Apparently no dissent is allowed in the ranks. He has a different opinion on one issue and is no longer welcome.

    So if you don't do the Reid-Pelosi-Schumer goose-step, you might as well pack your bags?

    Change you can believe in.

    November 7, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. FLewis

    Please Mr. Lieberman, go help your friend McCane with one of his lavish barbaque at one of his many houses. You do not deserve to have the luxury and fulfulment of being allowed to remain as a democrate.

    November 7, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. 58 old ladies





    November 7, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. T. Brown

    We need more leaders in washington that'll put being true to themselves and their convictions ahead of their respective party.
    What does the worn "INDEPENDENT" meant, people???
    Good luck, and Godspeed, Mr. Lieberman!

    November 7, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. C A


    It is not a matter of someone who was thinking for themselves and who decided to support another candidate (McCain). I respect Lieberman for standing up and doing so if that is what he truly believed. But where Lieberman was wrong was in how he supported McCain. He participated in the nasty ugly fear mongering attacks against Obama, trashed Obama during his speech at the Republican Convention, and even got involved in supporting the campaigns of other Republicans down the line for the Senate and Congress.

    It was not just a matter of supporting Mccain but accepting and persuing McCain's fear mongering tactics and supporting the Republican agenda down the line.

    For that, Lieberman needs to be booted out of the Dem caucas.

    November 7, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. ng

    I applaud Senator Lieberman for having the guts for being an independent and speaking his own mind. He did not stab his own party in the back because he isn't a Democrat. He only caucused with them because of the archaic 2 party system that is in place.

    November 7, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. Fred Crockett

    Do these people not live in the real world? There is not a company nor a community that would welcome back this shameless opportunist. Throw him face first down the steps.

    November 7, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. Travis

    It would be one thing is Lieberman "just" campaigned with McCain - but he did more than that. He said some very awful and divisive things against Obama and the Democrats. This is not a politician for a time when the country should be healing and coming together. He lacks sound judgment and grace.

    He's hurt people on both sides of the aisle. Unless he publicly apologizes then let him caucus with the Republicans and let CT vote him out in 2010!

    November 7, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. PA for Obama

    I can still see Lieberman standing behind Palin and McCain nodding his approval with that disgusting smile of his when the two were trashing Barach's character. I say we "politically" hang him.

    November 7, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  20. Matt

    @ Gary

    Nice try. Lieberman betrayed the party he caucases with and Reid, as Senate Majority Leader, is well within his rights to give his Committee Chairmanship to someone else, handing Lieberman a subcommittee chairmanship. Lieberman is a source of discord, not unity and working together. Moving him out of the way will make it easier for there to be cooperation.

    November 7, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  21. Mary D.

    Man . . . the majority of you folks were a bunch of jerks BEFORE the election. Looks like you still are! You are most definitely NOT gracious in winning! If all Dems are like ALL of you, we're in big trouble!

    November 7, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. Vence

    He should be allowed stay in the party only if he is needed!

    November 7, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  23. Cynthia; Bham

    I see it as no more than right for him to step down after the way he did things after the way he supported a losing cause in John McCain. I'm sure their will be a a good candidate waiting to run against him.

    November 7, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. mary, colorado springs

    Lieberman went to the Other Side, let him stay there. He shouldn't be allowed to vacillate from one side to the other. He turned his back on Obama and the Democrats and it's their choice to turn their back on him. They owe him nothing. He's a flip-flopper of the first waters, so let him go back to the Republicans as a Loser with the rest of the Losers. They deserve each other.

    November 7, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. Michelle, PA

    Sorry, Joe. You shouldn't be punished for having a dissenting opinion, but you did engage in attacks on the Democratic presidential nominee that were beyond simple "dissent". You also actively campaigned for down-ticket Repubican candidates. A lower-profile chairmanship is a good compromise offer under the circumstances.

    November 7, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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