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. Phil from Dallas

    Sen. Weaselman is the worst kind of politician. The kind that is only interested in being re-elected, and not was what he was sent to Congress for in the first place. He has no loyalty and no honor, and I would like to see him just go away. There are two names I'd like to never hear again: Palin and Lieberman.

    November 7, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Washington Observer

    When the Dems needed Joe to keep their majority, he gave it to them despite being shunned by his party and having to be elected as an Independent. Stick to your guns Joe – If they want to toss you, let them do it – What goes around comes around and The Dems may find themselves in the majority in the mid term elections.

    November 7, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Rorschach

    When does Lieberman's term expire? If he switches parties, CT may not be inclined to re-elect him either. That state is pretty blue.

    Between Barack and a hard place, Joe.

    November 7, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. mayah

    Good riddance to three tongue Lie bermeman

    November 7, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. 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 |
  6. fred

    he made his pick of team he wanted and it was wrong now he has to live with it ,

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

    Mr. Liebermman stood behind a party (Republicans) that wanted his democrat votes, but did not want him on the ticket with Mc Cain, now the Repubs want him. I guess so with only 40 in the Repub Senate. Remember Joe, these were the same people who took the election from you and Kerry.

    November 7, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. just a guy

    Lieberman should be considered on his merit. Just don't include him in democratic caucus but if he is qualified to head any committe he should be allowed even if he turn republican. Thats what I call truly bipartisan.

    November 7, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. Kim from PA

    He has acted as a republican an should be treated as such.Meaning he should join his rightful party. As a Democrat turned Independent who did vote for Obama. I feel as though Lieberman did say harsh things about the leader of the party during a curtail election and so he should be made to deal with that. If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, takes the side of ducks...It;s a Duck. Let this guy, with his unjustified criticisms go where he belongs. On the side he CHOSE, before we new who WON.

    November 7, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. Tina, Los Angeles

    I don't think it's contrary to Obama's "bipartisan" theme for the Democrats to remove Lieberman from the Homeland Security committee. There is now a new leader of the Democratic party, a new commander-in-chief, a new attitude, and a new philosophy. Lieberman has shown a lack of support for the new philosophy espoused by President-elect Obama and the Democrats regarding national security and military action. Therefore, it is not appropriate for Lieberman to chair the Homeland Security Committee in a Democratic Senate. It's that simple. Let Lieberman chair a different committee where his views are more consistent with those of the new President and the Democratic Party.

    November 7, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. Black Republican of New York for Obama-Biden

    Lieberman was campaigning with McCain because McCain told him he is on the short-list for VP. The Wednesday before McCain picked Sarah Palin on Friday, it was Lieberman at the top of the list. Palin was a maverick move by McCain, and it did not pay off.

    Lieberman, like McCain, made a maverick move and he also lost out. He can join the Republican Party, but when he faces re-election in Connecticut, he has to face voters who have booted Republican Christopher Shays, leaving the New England region Republican-less!

    November 7, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. John in NewYork

    We need a third party anyhow.

    November 7, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. Peter (CA)

    Wanting to support an "old friend" like McCain is one thing. But, to come out during the Republican convention and trash Obama. To disrespect him on the campaign trail and never say anything positive until the election is over? What did Lieberman expect would happen?

    And let's remember, in 2006 when the Democrats backed Lamont in the general election, who came to Lieberman's aid? Who campaigned for him? Who did Lieberman call "a colleague and a friend"? Who did Lieberman say he was proud to be a "mentor" of?

    Barack this how you treat your friends, Joe?

    November 7, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. Craig- Easton, PA

    Joe, That's a much more generous offer than you deserve. The endorsement was one thing, but doing so in such a blatant and high profile way; and an unfair way, is hard to excuse. And remember, the GOP dumped Mark Hatfield for a POLICY difference, hardly rising to the level of debasing your own party's Presidential candidate. So choose wisely, my friend. And remember that neither side ever truly trusts a turncoat.

    November 7, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. Bruce

    Oh, I think he has more than "flirted" with the Republicans. I think he puts out on the first date.

    November 7, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  16. Chill Will

    Let him go..!

    November 7, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |

    I think the will of the people is to have him out of there!

    November 7, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. Hooray for Joe

    Let's not forget that Senator Liberman is an Independent and he was free to campaign for his friend McCain. If the Dems want to play partisan politics now and toss him - it will come back to haunt him. Liberman is going to be around long after Reid the Incompetent is voted out.

    November 7, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. chico in VA

    This may appear as an act of betrayal but think about it. Leiberman is a silver tiger. I was living in Bridgeport , CT at the time when our Party betrayed him and pulled for another guy. He lost the Democrat slot but is sooo powerful AND popular in CT that the Republicans pulled the plug on their nominee and threw 90% of their weight for Leiberman.
    Naturally, he gets re-elected but as an "Independent."
    Now, he has a debt to pay to the GOP. They don't own him because he is a U.S. Senator, fierce and indpendent in CT. But he still owes them. So what does he do? Supports McCain and campaigns with and for him. That doesn't make him a traitor. If he decides to swing GOP, this benefits us-the Democrats. Lieberman is in a unique political position. He, as an INDEPENDANT, can reach across party lines. He now carries influence and the ability to be the Dems ear in the grapevine.

    November 7, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  20. James

    Dems "you are either with us or against us" good first steps in uniting the country! Next comes the "Fairness doctrine" and the end of free speach! No chance he was with McCain because he thought that McCain was the best man for the job.

    November 7, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. Maria Ann

    Does he know what he wants to be when he grows up? Democrat? Independent? Republican? It seems the Senator is flip flopping to see who offers him the best position and could care less about the people he is suppose to be respresenting.

    November 7, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Ken

    Chip - I'm especially amused at reading your naive attempt at criticizing the [D]s in their handling of dissenters, since you yourself are from the party that is well-known for eating its own young that stray from strict party loyalty. You need only listen to your own party disintegrate under the scathing attacks of and defense by Palin, all performed in-house.

    You delusional little hypocritical neo-turds should keep your thoughts to yourselves for awhile......the adults are in charge now, trying to fix the mess YOU made. You add nothing to the dialog but noise.

    November 7, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |



    November 7, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. North Atlanta GA

    Joe really has a remember lapse. What did he think would happened if McCain lose? How did he think he would be greeted by the dems after the election? There must be some consequences for his action. I say let him go.

    November 7, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  25. Danny in Chicago

    Vote Lieberman Out!

    November 7, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
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