Lieberman Vows to Work with President-Elect Obama
November 5, 2008 - 2:44 PMSen. Joe Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee who alienated his party with his high-profile support of Republican John McCain, pledged on Wednesday to put partisan considerations aside and work with President-elect Barack Obama.
During a prime-time address at the Republican National Convention, the Connecticut lawmaker had rapped Obama as an untested candidate beholden to Democratic interest groups.
But a day after Tuesday's election, Lieberman, a fixture beside McCain on the campaign trail, congratulated Obama for his "historic and impressive victory.
"Now that the election is over, it is time to put partisan considerations aside and come together as a nation to solve the difficult challenges we face and make our blessed land stronger and safer," Lieberman said in a written statement. "I pledge to work with President-elect Obama and his incoming administration in their efforts to reinvigorate our economy and keep our nation secure and free."
Lieberman, who was Al Gore's running mate in 2000, was re-elected to the Senate from Connecticut in 2006 as an independent after losing his state's Democratic primary and remains a registered Democrat. He caucuses with Senate Democrats.
But many Democrats want to strip him of his Homeland Security Committee chairmanship and kick him out of the party caucus, or both, because he endorsed his close friend McCain over Obama. Much depends on how badly Democrats need Lieberman to reach the 60-vote threshold required to block Republican filibusters.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he plans to meet with Lieberman later this week to discuss the situation.
In the past, Democrats tolerated Lieberman's political straddling because he held their slim political majority in his hands. Now that Democrats have strengthened their hold on the Senate, there could be added pressure to punish Lieberman.
Lieberman befriended Obama and was a mentor to the Illinois senator when he arrived on Capitol Hill three years ago.
Obama returned the favor, backing Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic Senate primary in Connecticut.
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