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. rk

    All that matters is potential of Lieberman, if he can significantly contribute to the new adminstration and has unique qualities that can offer great service then he is in; Ofcourse not to forget Politics has high role!!!

    November 7, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. Jack

    The problem with Lieberman is that his only interest is himself. He has already switched parties twice and is probably going to switch again, so let him go.
    I ask this of Republicans....if another Rep. had spoken out so voraciously against McCain, would McCain have kept him on after a win? Absolutely not would be the overwhelming answer.
    If Lieb REALLY had his states/country's best interest at heart I would say let him stay, but once a narcissist always a narcissist.

    November 7, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |

    Well if he is not happy. I say open the door and let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya. Lieberman has been a political driven junky w/ his own agenda since not getting what he wanted from the Dems in the past. This is why he became an indpendent and now he is doing it all over again.

    Get rid of him!!!

    November 7, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. Jeff Corrning

    Joe there are plenty of other arrogant windbags in the senate ready to take your spot. Get over yourself already!

    November 7, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  5. Enri

    And I thought Republicans were vicious. so much for bipartisanship

    November 7, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. SB

    Lieberman's political career, at least as a Democrat, is on life-support. Had the Democrats attained the supermajority in the Senate, he may have had more sway. But the fact is, the Dems are under 60 seats with or without Liberman, so they should do the right thing and kick him out of the Democratic Caucus and remove him from the HSGAC! He has no loyalty and anyone who would campaign in favour of Bushenomics is not a Democrat. Let the bitter old man run over to the Republicans where he belongs.

    November 7, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  7. Bjoerlingfan

    I don't much care for Lieberman...never have. HOWEVER, I think Reid and the Dems are going down the wrong path in "punishing" him. Yes, he did support McCain. Yes, he did have harsh words for Obama. But, you know what, he spoke his mind. This is something that should be encouraged, or at least accepted, in our government. It's a sad commentary on our political system when someone cannot speak his/her mind without fear of being punished or labeled a "traitor" by his/her party. Let's stop the childishness, can we please? We've just elected the first African-American president. It's time for everyone to grow up a little bit.

    November 7, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  8. Patrick

    OK before I begin, I was a BIG BIG Barack Supporter...and I sitll think his message of bringing together Washington has a meaning...

    So Lieberman didnt think that Barack was as qualified as John? BIG DEAL. The electorate has spoken. If anything I think he should be commended for showing friendship over party.

    If Barack wants to practice what he preaches, he should suggest to Reid "Let me make a statement of reconciliation on Lieberman" Then allow Obama to say ...."Lieberman has his right to an opinion and thats what his constituency has placed him here for. He is a valuable voting member with the democratic caucus and I, for one, harbor no hard feelings"

    Give Barack a chance to practice what he preaches!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!!!

    November 7, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. surprise

    This guy is a B.... in politics...he will go to bed with anybody in power position.....

    November 7, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. Retired Veteran from New York City, NY

    Senator Joe Lieberman would be a better fit for the Republican Party. His loyalty to the Democratic Party has long gone. I do understand that he's an Independent Senator, whith that he could go to the left or right. However, during the course of the campaign, at no time where he opposed the VP or even considered distance himself from all those inflamatory comments by Sarah Palin and her clowns.

    Senator Lieberman is nothing but an oppotunist. He and his fellow maverick convinced theselves that they're going to win, therefore he was well prepared to get himself in one of those open positions. They both miscalutated and he needed to relinquish his leadership post in the Senate which is a Democratic Post. He should cetainly ripped what he sowed.

    November 7, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. cool onlooker

    Go to Alaska!!! Swinger

    November 7, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. Janet, American in Canada

    Bon Voyage Mr. Leiberman!

    November 7, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. Kevin

    Lieberman is not a Democrat, and after his behavior this campaign, he's only a titular "Independant." No, he's a Republican. Too bad they don't like him either. I think the caucus should boot his behind out. There's almost no chance the Dems are gonna get the magic 60 majority anyway, so they really don't need him. After the shabby way he treated the party, and the shameful way he spoke of President-elect Obama a the RNC, let him hang with the Rs, if they'll have him. He deserves no less.

    November 7, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. Cathy Brandes

    I don't object to Senator Liberman endorsing John McCain – what I have an issue with is why. My feeling is he was jockying for the VP slot and when not chosen, he HAD to continue to suport him so if McCain won the election, perhaps a cabinet post would be available. I believe most Democrats would have been ok with his supporting McCain – it was the trashing that ultimately cost him.
    President Obama is not insisting on this – it's the DNC

    November 7, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. Still Waiting

    When does the era of postpartisanship begin?
    I can hardly wait.


    November 7, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. Lucieann

    LIEberman is really an incredible self-serving idiot that is being given credibility he doesn't deserve my the media and others. If he feels comfortable being with the RW then get lost Joe!! You only care about yourself, not your CT constituents. You will never be the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee whether you controversially were responsible for it or not.......Remember which Party is in charge, sir, you seemed to have forgotten that for such along period of time, so get real!!

    November 7, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. Patty in the CA mountains

    This guy has no loyalties to anyone....he will go where ever it suits his agenda.....that's so Republican, join them.

    November 7, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. Jay

    There are consequences to losing. He can't have it both ways.

    November 7, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  19. James

    Problem today is there is not much room for moderate folks like McCain and Liberman. But there is room on the Republican side we need to keep them os the Dems don't reach 60. Welcome sir we don't always have to agree!

    November 7, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. Hilary

    The GOP can have you, Joe. You are of no use to the Democrats.

    November 7, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. Big O

    Looking at the posts on this and other subjects, it strikes me that they provide positive evidence of the abysmal state of our education system. Mis-spelled words, poor sentence structure, terrible punctuation or lack thereof, etc. It seems as though the people posting should have someone competent take the time to review their pathetic writings to correct them to where they're close to acceptable.

    November 7, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. Lynn in NM

    Come on over to the Republicans, Senator Lieberman. I have always thought of you as a Republican anyway. You have more sense than 1/2 the people in the Senate, and are not afraid to vote your conscience, and for your consituents, instead of the party line.

    November 7, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  23. elvera

    I agree with Mike Glovier that Sen. Lieberman 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.
    I would like to add that Sen. Lieberman has acted like a poisonous snake. Who would want him anywhere? One never knows when he will stab you in the back. What a sleazy man!

    November 7, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. Bob, Calif

    You picked the wrong pony Joe, and lost......Just what did you think would happen to your role in the Democratic caucus if your candidate lost? OR EVEN WON, for that matter? There has to be consequences for your actions. Accountability is returning to Washington, and you're first up....

    November 7, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. teesha

    Go ahead Joe the best place for you,,,

    November 7, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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