November 11th, 2008
02:23 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama: No grudges against Lieberman

Obama is not holding a grudge against Sen. Lieberman.

Obama is not holding a grudge against Sen. Lieberman.

(CNN) – Barack Obama won’t publicly weigh in on whether or not Sen. Joe Lieberman should keep his position as chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, the president-elect's transition office said.

According to Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter, the president-elect doesn't “hold any grudges” against Lieberman and thinks the Connecticut lawmaker should remain a part of the Democratic caucus.

"We aren't going to referee decisions about who should or should not be a committee chair,” Cutter said. “President-elect Obama looks forward to working with anyone to move the country forward. We'd be happy to have Sen. Lieberman caucus with the Democrats. We don't hold any grudges."

Sources told CNN Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told Lieberman last week that he's considering revoking Lieberman's chairmanship on the powerful Homeland Security committee and instead giving him a chairmanship on another, less important, committee. Lieberman reportedly called that proposal "not acceptable."

The full Democratic caucus will likely vote on this issue when it reconvenes next Tuesday, a senior Democratic aide told CNN’s Dana Bash.

Lieberman, an independent, typically votes with the Democrats on a majority of issues, but was a fixture on the campaign trail for John McCain. Lieberman angered Democrats by attacking Obama throughout the campaign, most visibly in a primetime speech during the Republican National Convention when he called Obama inexperienced and said “eloquence is no substitute for a record.”

soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. Terry B.

    The Democratic party needs to go ahead and dump "Joe the undecider" It will send a strong statement to anyone else who wants to be in the party and chooses to make a bed with the opposition. Who cares if Joe finds it unacceptable to a demotion, he didn't find it unacceptable to want to be in the dem's caucus and yet show up to the GOP convention and all over the map with McCain while verbally blasting Obama. If Ried and the Dems in the Senate cave to Joe then maybe they don't deserve to be in charge...

    November 11, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Cleavette

    President-elect Obama is showing his leadership by not holding grudges. However, the Dems should still boot Liberman as far as a bionic foot will kick him. Liberman really looked like a total idiot hanging with the repubs.

    November 11, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. tlintx

    Lauren, if you believe Stephanie's statement I have a bridge that you would be a perfect buyer for.

    November 11, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. LyonsPhilly

    Obama keep your enemies close. Kill them with kindness. Don't ever let them know knock you off your square. Lieberman and McCain are too old to be bitter.

    November 11, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. josh

    Lieberman is a weasly traitor, who will never be trusted again, I think we should ship him to Alaska so that he can serve Sarah, I hear she does need a butler!

    November 11, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Good Tactical Move

    What would Lincoln do? He would do the same as what Obama is suggesting..... While what Lieberman advocated in his support was his own choice and he certainly might pay the price, I think it is better in the long run to let it go and move forward.

    November 11, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. Dal CA

    Let his state voters get him out rather than the President. Obama knows and is a very good politician to be thrown is this messy business.

    November 11, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. Abby

    3strikes, why do you want your country to fail?

    In 2012 the slogan will be ‘Keep the Good times Coming!’

    God Bless the President-elect!

    November 11, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. Karen from Charlottesville

    Hey, he voiced his opinion just like every other American. Should he be punished for that? NO. This is the USA.

    November 11, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. debchuck

    Lieberman made his political bed when he supported McCain. Let the chips fall wherever the axe lays them. Obviously, he cannot be trusted.The Dems owe him absolutely nothing. If he wants to stay, let him rejoin the Democrat Party and run under the Dem's policies ad procedures. I wouldn't go out of my way to pour water on him if he was on fire.

    If he can be useful to Dems, then tell him so and tell him what the requirements are: (1) drop the independent crap; (2) be a Dem first and foremost; (3) renounce Republicans; (4) apologize the the country for his misdeeds and misguided ways.

    Then, we can talk!!!

    November 11, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. Andy Toledo

    For a party that claims we need to be open to everyone views, why can't you let Joe have his own point of view? So what he didn't support the Dems candidate, it is a free country, let him do what he believes is right.

    November 11, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. Mary Steins

    I'm glad Obama is not going to hold a grudge, but I am. If I recall correctly, Lieberman was by Sara Palin's side inciting fear and calling Obama a friend of terrorists. I'm sorry, but I've moved on from decades long friendships over much less.

    I'm sure Lieberman wants to be on the winning team. Stip him of his chair position on the Homeland Security Committee. Tell him he needs to work on trust, loyalty and the party. Then he can get his post back!

    November 11, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. Janey /proud American/michigan

    Lieberman does not need the likes of Obama sticking up for him. He has proven himself over and over. He is obviously not intimidated by the left or he would not have supported J McCain. Keep your arrogance to yourself, Obama.

    November 11, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. Ike


    November 11, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. Cheri

    While I do not believe that Leiberman should be kicked out of the Democratic Caucus, I do believe there should be repercussions for the tenor of Leiberman's support of McCain during the election cycle. I applaud Leiberman for standing up for what he believes in...but I think he went about it the wrong way and was unnecessarily vicious when he laid into Obama.

    November 11, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  16. C A

    I can appreciate Obama's desire to bring people together and an apparent strategy to keep your enemies close as well as your friends. However, it was not that Liebermann supported McCain. If he felt strongly about that then so be it. One can appreciate that. But it was the manner in which he supported McCain. By accepting and participating in the inferences and clear references that Obama was anti-American, a Muslim, a threat to U.S. security, a socialist, a terrorist, etc, etc, Liebermann should be held accountable. Not for supporting McCain. But for participating in politics that went beyond nasty including the lies coming out of Palin and McCain about Obama that Liebermann knew were not true.

    Although this will be up to the Dems in Congress I suppose they need to strongly consider Obama's feelings on the issue. He is certainly a better man than me. I for one would be ripping Liebermann a new one.

    November 11, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. Kina, A Veteran in NYC

    it's very disgraceful all the bad-mouthing Sen. Lieberman did to President-elect Obama, especially after former senator Obama campaigned for him in 2006...but i believe Sen. Lieberman is gonna be poster for President-elect Obama's presidency...the new president ain't gonna hold a grudge, i'm sure, and he's gonna let this issue be water under the bridge...but Sen. Lieberman shld be ashamed of himself, nonetheless.


    November 11, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. LIP

    Lieberman is no different than the Republican turn coats that say whatever is approproiate for the occasion. Lieberman rides the middle rail and those that do, often flop from side to side, which is where I would like to see the far left and far right. More of the people's work would be accomplished.

    November 11, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. DEM1

    Most of the Dem on have no clue about politics. the Man is in the middle and that where we all should be. We have been in power for the last 2 years and nothing has changed. I don't see much change in the next 4 years. The economy will fix it self like it always has.

    November 11, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. JH from CT

    Obama doesn't need to waste his time with Lieberman. We'll take care of him in CT in 2010. Till then, let him try to suck up to the Dems in Congress.

    November 11, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. Ryan, Denver

    I'm glad that President – Elect Obama doesn't hold grudges, he's above such pettiness – but I do! I say kick the turncoat to the curb with the rest of the Zell Miller trash.

    November 11, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. Peter (CA)

    3strikes and 01/20/13-Get a life. You guys are not the solution, you are the problem.

    What did you want Obama to say? He handled it as best as he could, The problem is Lieberman. Remember 2006? When he lost the primary and the Democratic Party endorsed Lamont? Lieberman thanked a senator for coming out to campaign for him. A senator he said he was a "mentor" to. A senator he was proud to call a "colleague" and a "friend".
    And that senator was......Barack Obama. The same Obama he trashed at the Republican convention and in the campaign.

    This is not about Obama. This is all about Lieberman.

    November 11, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. NJ

    I cant stand Obama supporters. open your mind...not your mouths!

    November 11, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Independent

    There should be nothing to stop him from having his own opinion. But also, after campaigning persistently for John McCain, there should also be nothing forcing the Democrats to use their votes to keep him in a leadership position as chairman of the committee.

    November 11, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  25. Obama for Leader

    I think pres. Elect Obama is right. Leave this pathetic man be on his own. One reaps what they sow and Lieberman will get what ever he diserves on his own, guaranteed!!!!

    November 11, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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