November 18th, 2008
03:02 PM ET
14 years ago

Lieberman keeps powerful chairmanship post

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Lieberman spoke with reporters after Senate Democrats met on Capitol Hill Tuesday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Joe Lieberman retained his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Tuesday following a lengthy and often heated debate over what - if any - price the Connecticut Democrat-turned-Independent should pay for his vocal support of Republican Sen. John McCain's presidential bid.

The Senate Democratic caucus, meeting behind closed doors, voted 42 to 13 to allow Lieberman to keep the high-profile chairmanship. The party's 2000 vice presidential nominee was instead stripped of his spot on the Environment and Public Works Committee.

"It's all over with," Majority Leader Harry Reid said at a news conference following the vote. "Joe Lieberman is a Democrat. He's part of this caucus."

Reid dismissed vehement criticism of the decision from elements of the party's more liberal base, which has insisted that Lieberman be punished for failing to support President-elect Barack Obama's campaign.

Reid instead argued that this is "not a time for retribution. It's a time for moving forward on the problems of this country... We need to be unified."

"I would defy anyone to be more angry than I was," Reid noted. "There's a period of time in Joe Lieberman's political career that I will never understand or approve. But I also recognize that.... (he is) one of the most progressive members to come from the state of Connecticut and that says a lot."

Reid also pointed out that that the Democrats could not have had a Senate majority during the past two years without Lieberman's decision to remain in the party caucus.

Speaking at the same press conference, Lieberman called the resolution allowing him to keep the Homeland Security chairmanship "fair and forward leaning."

"It's a resolution... of reconciliation and not retribution, and I appreciate it," he noted.

Lieberman said that a number of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate were moved by an appeal from Obama himself that "the nation now unite to confront our very serious problems.... This is all about going forward."

Lieberman broke with his party over the war in Iraq and ran as an independent after losing the party's Connecticut Senate nomination in 2006.

He was a fixture on the campaign trail with Sen. McCain.

– CNN Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash contributed to this report

Filed under: Joe Lieberman
soundoff (389 Responses)
  1. FreeNLovIt

    Good now in the next Senate race, make sure you DONKEYS kick him out for GOOD!!!

    November 18, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. GA Independent

    Too bad. They should have dumped him...

    November 18, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. Three buzzards on the Roof

    Another great victory for his country,Israel.

    November 18, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. LyonsPhilly

    He deserves worse. A complete snake.

    November 18, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Lisa

    Well good, now the democrates won't look like they kicked him out.

    November 18, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. Karen - Proud of This Country

    That's too bad because I really wanted Libermann OUT. But I guess they will need him in the Senate as a push... BUT he can never be trusted.

    November 18, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. DX in TX

    Keep you friends close and your enemies closer...nice move!

    November 18, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Love My USA/Do You?

    Hey Liberals, this is how you reach across the middle. What a joke the Democratic LIberals are.

    God help us if the Democratic Liberals get control with their 60 votes.

    We need Joe there to look our for us.

    November 18, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. ANGIE

    Come on Democrats grow some will ya you should of Kicked him to the curb sent him packing with the sinking republicans,He cannot be trusted

    November 18, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. You Got to be Kidding Me...

    What a bunch of wussies the Senate Dems are.

    November 18, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. Ross in MD

    The Democratic 'leadership' is spineless, always have and always will be.

    November 18, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. Barb

    Pres-elect Obama wanted by gones to be by gones and they did what he recommended. This will show Leiberman that Obama is not what he made him out to be at the GOP convention.
    I hope the country will try to live by the same values that Obama is showing and everyone unite to make the country better.

    November 18, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. DickNH

    Obviously, the Democratic Senators care more about their cronies than they do about principle...I can only hope that the citizens of CT recall this "traitor" !!

    This will not sit well with Democratic voters......we have long memories!!!! Don't you forget it !!!

    November 18, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  14. Obama's being played!

    Poor little Barack, he's too dumb to realize that he's being played by the DNC power structure. Hillary wasn't even offered the job of Secretary of State, but now, with the help of the Clinton press, she's "accepted." This will lead to a third Clinton term with Bill and Hillary stealing his thunder and pushing him off center stage.

    Hillary knows exactly what she's doing. It sort of forces Obama's hand. But the question is, is he strong enough to say that no job offer was made and pick someone else for the job.

    Also, his "benefactor" George Soros is now making policy for the DNC. Poor Barry, he's just to naive to realize he's nothing but a puppet!

    November 18, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  15. Tammy - KCMO

    He should not have been allowed to retain chairmanship.

    November 18, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. bernj

    It will not matter much. This is his last term. If he screws up again in any way they will boot him forthwith I suspect.

    Still, I wish they would have sent his sorry butt packing. Give him to the repugs.

    November 18, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. Angie-OHIO

    Good move. You know the saying. Keep your friends close and enemies closer. Now moving on..........

    November 18, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. Ken

    OK people of CT. The ball is in your court now. Take a hard look and don't forget 2008, in 2012.

    November 18, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. alvino

    Joe has no business as chair of Homeland Security. Someone with leadership skills would have been better.

    At least Joe's popularity in his home state is at an all time low.

    November 18, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Wynter

    So Joe doesn't get "kicked off the island" this week.

    I wonder if this new reality show in the Senate will axe him if Alaska, Minnesota and Georgia all fall into Democratic hands in the coming month? Hmmm... Stay tuned!

    Now where did Reid hide the "immunity idol" again?


    November 18, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. Larry Kincaid

    I agree with three buzzards.
    Reps and Dems aren't that far apart, are they.

    November 18, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. chuck

    The DEMS are inching closer and closer to #60. Can you say FULL CONTROL. Obama is setiing the table for lunch and dinner until 2016.

    November 18, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  23. Steph

    Smart move. Keep him close and then let the voters in Connecticut decide if he should stay in the senate.

    November 18, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. Robert in Ann Arbor

    A fortnight and the Democrats are already acting like losers again.

    November 18, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. JJ

    I heard that he currently has a 68% disapproval rating from the CT people. I really hope that when he's up for re-election they can throw him OUT for good.

    November 18, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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