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. Dotty Helms, WI

    I guess he plans not to be Senator after his term is over

    Good bye Liberman – everything you touch turns to loser!

    November 7, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  2. Leprechaun

    Every action has consequences, and a mature (!) individual accepts the consequences of his actions. He should accept Reid's appointmenet and perhaps he can prove himself a reliable team player again.
    I hope Harry Reid will stick to his decision.

    November 7, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. Dean N

    Not only did he trash Obama badly, now he's sucking up to the neocons to try to get some leadership position. As the saying goes..he made his own bed and he already LIED in it.

    Not only should the Dems kick him out of the caucus, they should start now to identify someone (maybe Ned Lamont) to target him for defeat when his seat is up. For the next 4 years he should be relegated to following McCain around to committee meetings.

    Supporting McCain was one thing. Trashing Obama was uncalled for. All those espousing bipartisan spirit now were totally silent when McCain tried to outdo McCarthy with the relentless smears.

    November 7, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. steve

    Whatever choice this traitor makes is not that important because he will not be re-elected in 2012.

    November 7, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. Norm Saah

    Lieberman is Cancer. Get him out of the Democratic party.

    November 7, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. johnny

    Does he really fancy himself that important? He took his stand.

    November 7, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. Bob Inmo

    I don't quite understand the trash directed at Lieberman now. He is no longer a Democrat. He turned his back on the party when he chose to run as an Independent in his last election. His palling around with Sen. McCain in this election further showed that he was no longer a Democrat.

    As an Independent, it means that his vote is available to the lobbyist with the most money on each issue.

    November 7, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Christopher, Madison, WI


    November 7, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. Truth Be Told he voted overwhelming for Dems yet talked all that smack about the now President elect at the Repub convention...his obscure version of how one reaches across the isle...


    November 7, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. Joe Regis

    Lieberman has got to take what he has been offered otherwise, the republicans can have him for sure.

    I think what he has been offered is pretty reasonable considering where his allegance was.

    November 7, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Michael, Houston Texas

    Okay bye Lieberman, good riddens. You are nothing but a fence jumper anyway. Good luck on NOT getting re-elected.

    November 7, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. RK

    Senator Lieberman lost the Democratic primary in Connecticut to Ned Lamont.

    Feeling he was entitled to the job of senator, he refused to bow to the will of the people and ran a new campaign as an "Independent" and courted the Republican Party in a bid to retain his own power and influence.

    Joe looks out for Joe. Not the citizens of Connecticut. It is time a new faces in the Democratic Caucus and new faces in CT.

    November 7, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. Matt

    For those of you trying to characterize this as "not working together," I think you've completely missed the point. Lieberman got an "F" in working together with the Democratic party and its senate caucas, which is why Reid is doing this. What Reid is doing is designed to make it easier for everyone to work together because Lieberman is a source of discord, not unity.

    November 7, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. danilo

    Why is Lieberman a traitor oh I guess for the same reason we should consider Bill Richardson a traitor, oh not double standard is accepted in the new Obama administration as it is accepted to trash other candidates it does not matter if they are from your party or not but if they do not support Obama. Oh and I can always use the race card for Obama's benefit

    So this is the new world with a nice window of change, progress, hope that regular Americans can see and the real inside where old politics, cynical actions to the most subliminar ways and promising the stars and the sky because we just have to say that it will take two periods in the White House to achieve it and if we do not achieve it in the second period who cares we can not change the Constitution

    November 7, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Don B.

    I would have supported Joe L.'s right to endorse McCain but he crossed the line when he spoke so negatively about Obama. For that, he should be held accountable and loose his chairmanship.

    November 7, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. siler

    Se. Lieberman's problem is not only that he makes himself look for sale. After all, he went with the candidate he loved most and had McCain won he most certainly would have retained his position. The real problem is that Lieberman was one of the founders, writers and approvers of one of the acts that is most outrageously anti-American and anti-civil liberties this side of the Patriot Act itself. The Homeland (Fatherland) Dept. is now one of the most wasteful, most powerful, and most populous departments in DC. It's cost is grotesque and growing. It was designed to be the forerunner of a police state. America's security does NOT depend on Mr. Lieberman's creation. Both he and it should be dismantled and re-created – Joe as a Republican, the Homeland as efficient and serious against real terrorists, not against our citizens!

    November 7, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. dwayne

    OH!!! Now Joe is complaining. We didn't here the Democrats or President-Elect Obama complain when Lieberman was trashing him on the Sunday morning talk shows, on the campaign trail or on the Hate meeting better known has the Republican National Convention! You went against everything that the Democrats is about and slept with the enemy! Look who was the first talking about unity after election night, Lie-berman! This guys is nothing but an opportunist only looking for himself. Had he McSenile won, he would of been lobbying for a cabinet post, probably Secertary of State! Throw this bum out with the rest of the Republican rats! Hopeful he does become a Republican, that will give his state a reason to throw his @$$ out in 2012!

    November 7, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. Obama/Biden

    Yes, He deserve that. He betrayed the party.

    November 7, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. Greed is not good

    Liberman...the man that NEITHER party wants. Throw him out of the Democratic Caucaus, take a hike.

    November 7, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Greg in Annapolis

    Somebody had mentioned this yesterday, and I still think it's the best solution: Presidential shoe shine guy! Liebermann should be black-balled from politics altogether!!!

    November 7, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. The Fab One

    .......Lieberman made clear that was “not acceptable” to him.........

    Not acceptable? This isn't Survivor, you moron, you don't get to jump back and forth across sides without paying some form of retribution. You sold out Pres. Elect Obama, and now that he's won, you want to talk unity and not have to deal with the consequences of your actions. It's time to pay the piper, so dance the hora and deal with it.

    That's just like someone who thinks he's entitled.........

    GO OBAMA!!


    November 7, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Paul Wall

    what did Lieberman expect? he was an Independent who caucused with democrats. i was shocked and astounded when he came out in support of McCain. after all he ran with Al Gore! now it's time for him to move on. but republicans may not want him either, i think the Judas allusions are appropriate. you can hardly attend the hate rallies he did and expect to be warmly welcomed back into the democratic party.

    November 7, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. bye bye

    Bye Bye Joe!

    Dont let the door hit you where the good lord split you.

    November 7, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. echeweozo


    November 7, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  25. Obama Supporter All the Way

    I think the dems should kick him under the bus!!!

    November 7, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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