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. PumaHunting

    Hooray for unity...but lieberman is a back stabbing self serving power hungry monster and it wont be long before he strikes again...

    also I think Obama's whole new approach is nullified by someone who is a hawk and puts the interest of Israel above the US.

    November 18, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. indyred

    Boo! Standing up for what you believe is one thing. Actively campaigning against your Democratic colleagues is another.

    November 18, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. Cody

    Good for Joe always liked him rare to find an independant anywhere these days just hope he can win in 12'

    November 18, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  4. Pete

    It is funny that whenever the democrats don't get their way, they like to kick and scream and thorw a hissy-fit. Just read through the comments on this page and you will see what I mean.

    And when they win, they like to point out how everyone who voted the other way are traitors and losers.

    You really have to admire a group who can be both sore losers and sore winners. I can't wait for the Change We Can Believe In over the next four years.

    November 18, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  5. Susan

    Thats a reward for traitorship.

    SHAME ON DEMS. This will incourage indiscipline.

    November 18, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. Tim

    Check, check, is this mike on? Check, check, moderator?

    November 18, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Susan

    Let the voters decide.

    CT voters, kick him out next time.

    November 18, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. Pete

    I wonder if Reid has stopped kicking and screaming yet. Poor baby seems to have lost the battle.

    Good for Lieberman, he is a true patriot, in the grandest sense of the word. Just like McCain. It would do others a lot of good (Democrats and Republicans) to learn from their unbending promise to put their country first, ahead of their party and personal aspirations. I haven't seen it in many polticians, including the one headed for the white house. But to be fair to Obama, he has never been in a position (he's avoided these types of calls) to have to put his country ahead of his personal aspirations. It will be interesting to see what he does when such a call is required.

    November 18, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Joe Regis

    Does he deserve to keep it?

    I don't believe this!

    November 18, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. PL

    I cannot believe this. Judas has already shown he can't be trusted.

    November 18, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. worriedmom

    Now this is what we call working together. I am glad to see that Harry Reid didn't get his way. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are dangerous people and Pres. Elect Obama needs to keep them in control. All they want to do is give money away and forget about how "us" the taxpayer will pay it back!

    November 18, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Phil in KC

    I'm disappointed. He should have been stripped of Homeland Security Chair. So he loses some sub-committee chair. Big whoop. There should be some price to pay for his actions. I hope the people of CT have better sense the next time. Unfortunately, that is 4 years away. That's 4 too many, as far as I'm concerned.

    November 18, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  13. MD

    I don't love Lieberman for what he did but to all you folks saying that this decision and some others in the works is not the change you wanted, get a clue.

    Sometimes change needs to come in smaller doses. Take it from someone who has worked through and watched 1000s of experienced folks lose their jobs to very inexperienced workers from other countries.

    Those of us left are still picking up the pieces. 10 years from now things will probably be alright but for the past 4 or 5 years it has simply been HELL...

    Be careful what you ask for.

    President Elect Obama,

    You handle it your way. Small changes, big changes, however you see fit. The majority in the US are behind you...

    November 18, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. Jaye

    That sockpuppet is a disgrace to any party – he should be kicked to the curb, to the republican curb.
    He will screw the democrats every chance he gets.

    November 18, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. Jan

    What? Seems like you Dems are questioning your "leader"? What happened to trusting the man you voted for/ He DOES need some experience and knowledge to make up for the lack of his own. Remember "UNITY"? and change you can believe in?

    November 18, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. Mickie

    Well, CT will decide his future fate in 2012 and so far it does not look pretty. After Pres. Elect Obama went and saved his hide when he was running for the senate, this is how he repays his supporters. Maybe he should go live in Israel.

    November 18, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  17. Colleen

    Hey Joe

    When the Dems and Obama say jump, you better ask, How High? How Far, Where to? You owe them greatly, don't forget that!

    November 18, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  18. CD

    Joe make sure you see EMMANUEL with a bullet vest I hear he has some friends looking for you to meet him privately. Pick up the phone call from Emmanuel and stop being such a loser.

    November 18, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. Helene

    That loser is helped by the ineptitude and lack of principles of the democrats. Sad day !

    November 18, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. Lieberman the Maverick

    I'm a life-long Democrat but I applaud people who do not subscribe to the notion that their party can do no wrong and they have all the answers. It takes a lot a of courage, substance and independent thinking to do what Lieberman did. Just as McCain has gone against his own party becoming a thorn in Bush's spine, Lieberman does the same with Democrats who would sell their soul to the devil rather than admit they can be wrong. Lieberman is a standard bearer for all Democrats and Republicans alike. Stand against your party when you believe the Right Thing is not being done.

    November 18, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. Helene

    But we will get him nevertheless in Connecticut. Can't wait to see him hit the dust.

    November 18, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    He will learn.

    November 18, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. Chyrel

    This horrible man has no integrity, I hope the Dems get smart and drop him like a hot bag of rocks. How he shamed himself and the Democratic party during the general election was most shocking. I wouldn't trust this person as far as I could throw him.

    November 18, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. gloria


    November 18, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. You Go Joe!

    "Meshugener Joe" pulls off another one. What Chutzpah!

    November 18, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
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