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. David

    Sock it to 'em Joe! You were one of the ones that drew up Homeland so it would be utterly stupid to kick you off. It's a free country and you are free to speak your mind as our Constitution allows.

    November 18, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. CT in CT

    Time is past for BOTH LIEberman and Dodd "sweetheart loan deal" to go!

    Wimps in the senate!

    November 18, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. BeefyDaddy

    Politically correct

    Morally bankrupt

    November 18, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. Chris (SC)

    Don't see the point of keeping him, if he isn't going to vote with you if you take his chairmanship away, is it really going to change if he keeps his post? Lieberman is the one who should be making some concessions not the other way around.

    He could have stayed neutral, or at least not attacked other senate races but chose not to.

    If you can't trust him why would you let him keep such an important post?

    November 18, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. E

    It is fine if he keeps it, I just wish he would go ahead and admit he is a Republican and give up this "independent" thing. He isn't fooling anyone.

    November 18, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Jack

    Joe will get his when he comes up for reelection in Ct. As long as Joe votes with the democrats keep him in the fold but, if he strays too far, they can always dump him.

    November 18, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Sian

    Well, he's already shown that he lsot his morals and possibly his mind so why strip him of anything else.

    November 18, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. Sam-NJ

    He is only loyal to Israel. He will use his post as Chairman of National security to distort reality and inflict fear on us so that we go to war with the Arabs to protect Israel. Thats all he cares about.

    November 18, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. wait a minute

    Sorry, I have corrections to make. GOP did not kick Dr. Ron Paul out just because he disagrees with GOP almost all the time. He is called Dr. No in the House. In this regard, GOP is more tolerant of different ideas than the Dems. With his independent thinking, Senator Lieberman should go all the way to become a leader of Independents.

    November 18, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. Wake me when it's over

    Lieberman deserves much worse. I have completely and utterly lost respect for him. Even if Lierberman chose to become an Independent, he did NOT need to slam his former party the way he did, and he certainly shouldn't have campaigned for a Republican. My God, even the prominent Republicans who voted for Obama had the decency not to campaign for him out of respect for their party.

    Obama is a much better person than most; I hope Lieberman rewards Obama and the Democrats with LOYALTY this time.

    What a snake! I wouldn't trust Lieberman to hand me clean toilet paper in the bathroom!

    November 18, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    wow..I totally agree that they should have dumped him...too bad...i think he is a slimeball!

    November 18, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Mark

    Something is wrong here. How is it there were 55 total votes in the Senate when our newest members have not yet been seated? Or have they?

    November 18, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. zenter

    WIMPS. You can walk all over your own party and get rewarded in the end! The democrats have no backbone. This unity let past go thing is getting out of hand. Lieberman is a moron who bets on losers (Gore and McCain).

    November 18, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. bill from pa

    I don't see what all the big deal is. He backed a candidate he thought was best for this country. I guess the idea of country over party was just a nice sounding jingle after all. You people are pathetic

    November 18, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. Barbara in NC

    Hope CT votes him out in 2 years. He's a real snake.

    November 18, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. WhoCares?

    "Hey Liberals, this is how you reach across the middle. "

    Yes, and since the Republican party has said that Obama is the "Most Liberal" shows that the "Liberal" Democrats have already reached farther across the aisle BEFORE they have actually moved into the White House than the Bush Adminstration did in 8 years.

    You really didn't think that out did you? Rage and hate usually cloud judgement btw.

    November 18, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  17. CT Dem

    I was disappointed that he was reelected in 2006. I am disappointed again that the Senators would not stand up to him. There is always hope that 2012 will be different.

    November 18, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. Kate

    I'm a very enthusiastic Democrat and I'm glad they allowed him to keep it.

    Lieberman designed this position and has been doing a good job with it. We need to keep the best people for the job in power.

    After that, it's up to Connecticut voters as to whether to keep him in the Senate.

    November 18, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. Tired

    To err is human to forgive is Devine.

    November 18, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. chuck

    Lieberman may not show it, but, that snake still harbors revenge in his heart. I do not trust him at all.

    The Senate Democrats voted to keep him for the right reasons, though it appears that it was out of "blackmail" on the part of the snake Lieberman. Lieberman would have surely bolted if he was not going to retain the chairmanship the Homeland Security.

    Do not ever, never trust this guy in the future. He's still smoldering from two years ago when he lost the Senatorial primary race in Connecticut. LET THE VOTERS FROM CONNECTICUT GIVE HIM THE BOOT WHEN HE RUNS FOR RE-ELECTION NEXT TIME.

    November 18, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. Rich from Philly

    Looks like the "country club" protects its own. Pretty spineless–but what else is to be expected from the world's most exclusive club?

    November 18, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. Jack walden

    Ah, Joe the Judas has fellow conspirators after all!

    November 18, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Jeff Brown

    I guess the Dems enjoyed being cuckholded by this worm!

    November 18, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. An Independent Hillary

    Good job Democrats. Even the Messiah Obama said it's time to let by gones be by gones and move on! There is hope for my former political party yet!

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


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