During his re-election bid in 2006, he lost the
Democratic Party primary election, but won re-election in the general
election as a third party candidate under the party label "Connecticut
for Lieberman." Lieberman is now officially listed in Senate
records for the 110th Congress as an "Independent Democrat",
and sits as part of the Democratic Senate caucus in the 110th Congress.
Lieberman has been one of the Senate's strongest
advocates for continued prosecution of the war in Iraq. He is also
a consistent supporter of Israel. On domestic issues, he strongly
supports free trade economics. He has also opposed fillibustering
Republican judicial appointments. With Lynne Cheney and others,
Lieberman co-founded American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA),
an educational association with ties to Campus Watch. Lieberman
has also voted with Republicans on some ethical issues, and is one
of the Senate's leading opponents of violence in video games and
on television. Lieberman describes himself as being "genuinely
an Independent," saying "I agree more often than not with
Democrats on domestic policy. I agree more often than not with Republicans
on foreign and defense policy."
Lieberman was elected as a "reform Democrat"
to the Connecticut Senate in 1970, where he served for 10 years,
including the last six as Majority Leader. He suffered his first
defeat in Connecticut elections in the Reagan landslide year of
1980, losing the race for the Third District Congressional seat
to Republican Lawrence Joseph DeNardis, a state senator from suburban
Hamden with whom he had worked closely on bipartisan legislative
efforts. From 1982 to 1988, he served as Connecticut Attorney General
and emphasized consumer protection and environmental enforcement.
Lieberman was born in Stamford, Connecticut, the son of Marcia (née
Manger) and Henry Lieberman. He received his BA in Politics and
Economics from Yale University in 1964; he was the first member
of his family to graduate from college. At Yale he was editor of
the Yale Daily News and a member of the Elihu Club. He then attended
Yale Law School, receiving his LLB law degree in 1967. After graduation
from law school, Lieberman worked for a New Haven-based law firm,
Wiggin & Dana LLP.
Lieberman met his first wife, Betty Haas, at the
congressional office of Senator Abraham Ribicoff (D-CT), where they
worked as summer student interns. They married in 1965 while Joe
Lieberman was in law school. They had two children – Matt and Rebecca.
Betty, who is also Jewish, later worked as a psychiatric social
worker. In 1981, the couple divorced. When asked about the divorce
in an interview with New York Magazine, Lieberman said, "one
of the differences we had was in levels of religious observance,"
adding, "I'm convinced if that was the only difference, we
wouldn't have gotten divorced."
In 1982, he met his second wife, Hadassah Freilich
Tucker while he was running for attorney general of Connecticut.
Hadassah Lieberman is the child of a Holocaust survivor. According
to Washington Jewish Week, Lieberman called her for a date because
he thought it would be interesting to go out with someone named
Hadassah. (Hadassah is the name of the Women's Zionist Organization
of America). Since March 2005, Hadassah Lieberman has worked
for Hill & Knowlton, a lobbying firm based in New York City,
as a senior counselor in its health and pharmaceuticals practice.
She has held senior positions at the Hospital of Saint Raphael in
New Haven, the American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center
in Jerusalem, Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials
(APCO), Pfizer, National Research Council, Hoffmann-La Roche, and
Joe and Hadassah Lieberman have a daughter, Hani.
Lieberman also has a stepson from Hadassah's previous marriage,
Ethan Tucker. Matt Lieberman graduated from Yale University in 1989,
and from Yale Law School in 1994. He is the Head of School of Greenfield
Hebrew Academy in Atlanta, GA. Rebecca Lieberman graduated from
Barnard College in 1991, and from the University of Pennsylvania
Law School in 1997. She is married to Jacob Wisse. Ethan Tucker
graduated from Harvard College in 1997 and was a rabbinical student
at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Lieberman is also related to
Disney Channel star Raviv Ullman of Phil of the Future.
Lieberman never served in the military. A spokesperson
told The Hartford Courant in 1994 that Lieberman received an educational
deferment from the Vietnam War draft when he was an undergraduate
and law student from 1960-67. Upon graduating from law school at
25, Lieberman qualified for a family deferment as he was already
married and had one child, Matt.
Lieberman is an Orthodox Jew, though he was less observant in 1965
when he married Betty Haas, a Reform Jew. Since the death in 1967
of Lieberman's grandmother, a deeply religious immigrant, he found
renewed interest in religious observance. His second wife, Hadassah,
is also an observant Orthodox Jew. "Hadassah calls herself
my right wing," says Lieberman. In Lieberman's 1988 upset
of GOP incumbent Senator Lowell Weicker, his religious observance
was mostly viewed in terms of inability to campaign on Shabbat.
This changed when Gore chose Lieberman as the running mate; a Lieberman
press officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said:
“ He refers to himself as observant, as opposed
to Orthodox, because he doesn't follow the strict Orthodox code
and doesn't want to offend the Orthodox, and his wife feels the
same way. ”
The Liebermans keep a kosher home and observe Shabbat.
Nonetheless, some Orthodox Jews have voiced concerns about the Liebermans'
omissions, such as Hadassah's infrequent covering of her head.
Lieberman has said that there is currently "a
constitutional place for faith in our public life". He
attends Kesher Israel Congregation in Georgetown, Washington, DC
and Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol - B'nai Israel, The Westville Synagogue,
New Haven, Connecticut. He also attends Congregation Agudath Sholom
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Please update the article to reflect recent events / newly available
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In 1988, Lieberman defeated moderate Republican
Lowell Weicker to win election to the United States Senate and was
re-elected in 1994 and 2000. Like Bill Clinton and Dick Gephardt,
Lieberman served as chair of the Democratic Leadership Council.
Lieberman was first elected to the United States
Senate as a Democrat in the 1988 election, by a margin of 10,000
votes. He scored the nation's biggest political upset that year,
after being backed by a coalition of Democrats and unaffiliated
voters with support from conservative Republicans, who were disappointed
in three-term Republican incumbent Lowell Weicker's moderate voting
record and personal style. During the campaign, he received support
from the Connecticut's Cuban-American community which was unhappy
with Weicker, who was known as a supporter of Fidel Castro. Lieberman
has since remained loyal to the anti-Castro cause. Six years
later, Lieberman made history by winning by the largest landslide
ever in a Connecticut Senate race, drawing 67 percent of the vote
and beating his opponent by more than 350,000 votes.
In 1998, Lieberman was the first prominent Democrat
to publicly challenge Bill Clinton for the judgment exercised in
his affair with Monica Lewinsky. However, he voted against removing
Clinton from office by impeachment. In 2000, while concurrently
running for the vice presidency, Lieberman was elected to a third
Senate term with 64 percent of the vote easily defeating the Republican
When control of the Senate switched from Republicans
to Democrats in June 2001, Lieberman became Chairman of the Homeland
Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, with oversight responsibilities
for a broad range of government activities. He was also a member
of the Environment and Public Works Committee and chair of its Subcommittee
Clean Air, Wetlands and Private Property; the Armed Services Committee,
where he chaired the Airland Subcommittee and sat on the Subcommittee
on Emerging Threats and Capabilities; and the Small Business Committee.
When Republicans gained control of the Senate in January 2003, Lieberman
resumed his role as ranking minority member of the committees he
had once chaired.
In the 110th Congress, Lieberman is Chairman of
the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which
is responsible for assuring the efficiency and effectiveness of
the Federal Government. In addition, he is a member of the Environment
and Public Works Committee; Senate Armed Services Committee, where
he is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Air Land Forces and sits on
the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities; and the Small
Committee on Environment and Public Works
Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety
Subcommittee on Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global
Warming and Wildlife Protection (Chairman)
Subcommittee on Public Sector Solutions to Global Warming, Oversight,
and Children's Health Protection
Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (Chairman)
As Chairman of the full committee, Sen. Lieberman is an ex officio
member of all subcommittees.
Committee on Armed Services
Subcommittee on Airland (Chairman)
Subcommittee on Personnel
Subcommittee on SeaPower
Gore/Lieberman 2000 campaign logoIn August 2000, Lieberman was selected
as the nominee for Vice President of the United States by Al Gore,
the Democratic Party nominee for President. Lieberman was the first
Jewish candidate on a major political party ticket. The announcement
of Lieberman's selection may have resulted in an increase in support
for Gore's campaign. The Gore/Lieberman ticket won a plurality
of the popular vote, with over half a million more votes than the
Republican ticket of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, but they were
defeated in the Electoral College by a vote of 271 to 266.
Like Democratic VP candidates Lyndon B. Johnson
in 1960, and Lloyd Bentsen in 1988, Lieberman's Senate term was
due to expire during the election cycle. Like both Johnson and Bentsen,
he decided to stage a run to maintain that seat.
On January 13, 2003, Lieberman announced his intention to seek the
Democratic nomination as a candidate in the 2004 presidential election.
Describing his Presidential hopes, Lieberman opined
that his historically hawkish stance would appeal to voters. Indeed
he initially leads in pools of primaries, but due to his political
positions he failed to win a support of liberal Democratic voters,
who are dominating in primaries.Prior to his defeat in New Hampshire,
Lieberman famously declared his campaign was picking up "Joementum".
On February 3, 2004, Lieberman withdrew his candidacy after failing
to win any of the five primaries or two caucuses held that day.
He acknowledged to the Hartford Courant that his support for the
war in Iraq was a large part of his undoing with voters.
Lieberman's former running candidate Al Gore did
not support Lieberman's Presidential run, and in December 2003 endorsed
Howard Dean's candidacy, saying "This is about all of us and
all of us need to get behind the strongest candidate [Dean]."
Finally Lieberman withdrew from the race without
winning a single contest. In total popular vote he placed 7th behind
eventual nominee, Massachusetts John Kerry, future Vice Presidential
nominee, North Carolina Senator John Edwards, former Governor of
Vermont Howard Dean, Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich, retired
General Wesley Clark and Reverend Al Sharpton.
In a 1995 speech before the National Press Club, Lieberman said,
"this business of deciding by group, the argument that some
make that some groups are genetically less able than others. That's
an un-American argument." Affirmative action programs "must
change because they are inconsistent with the law and basic American
values of equal treatment and opportunity." He also stated
that he was "against group preferences".
In 1996, he expressed support for California's Proposition
209, which will eliminate state and local government affirmative
action programs in the areas of public employment, public education,
and public contracting to the extent these programs involve "preferential
treatment based on race, sex, gender, color, ethnicity, or national
origin." "Affirmative action is dividing us in ways
its creators could never have intended.", he said.
Since 2000, he rescinded his support for the proposition,
saying that he expressed support "without understand[ing] the
intent of Proposition 209", and renounced any support for
Proposition 209. In the 2000 campaign, Lieberman assured the
black voters, "I have supported affirmative action, I do support
affirmative action, and I will support affirmative action because
history and current reality make it necessary."
In 2003, Lieberman criticized Bush's affirmative
action policy. In 2004, he reiterated his support, "I support
affirmative action programs, including in appropriate instances
consideration of race and gender in government contracting decisions,
when the affirmative action program is designed to remedy the effects
of past discrimination."
Lieberman has stated he wants to increase subsidies
for women-owned non-profit business, and he voted yes on setting
aside 10% of highway funds for companies owned by minorities and
women without regard to the demographics of their employees.
Lieberman was one of four Senate Democrats to side with Republicans
in 1995 in voting to limit punitive damage awards in product liability
In February 2005, breaking ranks with fellow Senate
Democrats, Lieberman voted for the Class Action Fairness Act of
2005, S. 5, which is a bill to curtail the ability of plaintiffs
to file class action lawsuits against corporations in federal courts.
The bill was backed by the White House and business groups as an
essential tort reform measure that would reduce what they said was
a debilitating number of frivolous lawsuits. The bill was opposed
by consumer advocacy groups and trial lawyers who argued that many
valid claims against corporations would be dismissed, leaving consumers
without legal recourse.
Lieberman championed experimental voucher programs, which would
redirect some education funding directly to parents, who could apply
it towards paying for the public or private school of their choice.
Lieberman has called Bush's "No Child Left
Behind" plan a "progressive piece of legislation"
which has been insufficiently funded. He said, "A month after
he signed the law, President Bush under funded it by $6 billion
less than was promised in the legislation. This is creating greater
pressures on our schools to perform and educate our kids - which
is appropriate - but without giving them sufficient resources to
make it happen." He has repeatedly criticized the administration
to this effect.
With Lynne Cheney, Richard Lamm, Saul Bellow, and
others, Lieberman co-founded the American Council of Trustees and
Alumni (ACTA), a controversial educational organization which released
the post-9/11 report titled "Defending Civilization: How Our
Universities Are Failing America and What Can Be Done About It"
that criticized universities for evidence of anti-Americanism.
Lieberman has been critical of the entertainment media. On November
29, 2005, Lieberman co-sponsored the Family Entertainment Protection
Act, which was introduced by Hillary Clinton, S.2126. The act is
intended to protect children from what he says is inappropriate
content found in video games. He has denounced the violence contained
in video games and has attempted to regulate sales of violent video
games to minors, arguing that games should have to be labeled based
upon age-appropriateness. Regarding Grand Theft Auto, he said,
"The player is rewarded for attacking a woman, pushing her
to the ground, kicking her repeatedly and then ultimately killing
her, shooting her over and over again. I call on the entertainment
companies—they've got a right to do that, but they have a responsibility
not to do it if we want to raise the next generation of our sons
to treat women with respect." He voted for the Communications
Lieberman co-sponsored the 1990 Clean Air Act, introduced legislation
in 1991 to give consumers more information about the dangers of
pesticides, and has addressed the need to limit global warming.
Lieberman has stated that the US population has
to accept responsibility for global warming, and voted "yes"
on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Lieberman voted yes on reducing oil usage by 40% by 2025 (instead
of 5%). Lieberman voted against Gale Norton as Secretary of Interior,
and voted for funding for greater risk assessment by the EPA. Lieberman
has even gone as far as saying he wants to raise mileage standard
to 40 mpg. Lieberman voted for the administration-backed Energy
Policy Act of 2005; facing criticism, Lieberman called the bill
imperfect but good for Connecticut, citing a saving of $800 million
for Connecticut electricity customers. Lieberman has been a
vocal critic of Bush's environmental policy.
‘‘Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008’’
Main article: America's Climate Security Act of 2007
Also more commonly referred to as the "Cap and Trade Bill",
proposed to ration (cap) carbon emissions in the U.S., and tax or
purchase (trade) Carbon credits on the global market for greater
U.S. alignment with the Kyoto protocol standards and goals. The
current bill is almost 500 pages long, and provides for establishment
of a federal bureau of Carbon Trading, Regulation, and Enforcement
with mandates which some authorities suggest will amount to the
largest tax increase in the history of the United States. http://lieberman.senate.gov/documents/amendment.pdf
"Gang of 14"
On May 23, 2005, Lieberman was one of fourteen senators, dubbed
the "Gang of 14," who forged a compromise on the Democrats'
use of the judicial filibuster, thus avoiding the Republican leadership's
implementation of the so-called "nuclear option". Under
the agreement, the Democrats would exercise the power to filibuster
a Bush judicial nominee only in an "extraordinary circumstance,"
and three of the filibustered Bush appellate court nominees – (Janice
Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William Pryor) – would receive
a vote by the full Senate, which resulted in their confirmation.
Lieberman refused to support a filibuster against Supreme Court
Justice nominee Samuel Alito. Alito was confirmed by the United
States Senate on January 31, 2006 by a vote of 58-42, becoming the
Court's 110th Justice. Lieberman voted against the Alito confirmation
in the final Senate vote. On the John Roberts nomination as
the Chief Justice of the United States, Lieberman believed that
Roberts did not seem to be the kind of right-wing candidate the
"Gang of 14" feared the president would select. Lieberman
said he thought Roberts was a "decent guy." But he also
said it was too early to draw further conclusions. Roberts was
confirmed by the United States Senate on September 29, 2005 by a
vote of 78-22, becoming the Court's 17th Chief Justice. Lieberman
voted for the Roberts confirmation.
In 2004, Lieberman scored a rating of 88 out of 100 by the Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), one of the largest civil rights organization
working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality."
Lieberman voted no on a constitutional ban of same-sex
marriage. In 2003, in response to the Massachusetts ruling that
sanctions gay marriage, Lieberman stated, "although I am opposed
to gay marriage, I have also long believed that states have the
right to adopt for themselves laws that allow same-sex unions,"
and "I will oppose any attempts by the right wing to change
the Constitution in response to today's Massachusetts Supreme Court
ruling, which would be unnecessary and divisive."
Lieberman cosponsored the Domestic Partners Benefits
and Obligations act of 2003, which provided the same benefits to
domestic partners of federal employees as spouses currently have.
In 1996, Lieberman cosponsored the Employee Non-Discrimination Act
(ENDA), which would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis
of sexual orientation. Lieberman voted in favor of the Early
Treatment for HIV Act of 2003, which provided Medicaid treatment
for people with HIV. Lieberman has adopted a non-discriminatory
policy in employment decisions, which include sexual orientation
and gender. Although Lieberman had no experience in military
personnel policy, he was among the minority in the Senate in 1993
to vote in support of President Clinton's proposal to let gays and
lesbians serve openly in the military. However,
he supported the Defense of Marriage Act and "Don't ask, don't
In August, 1994, Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Bob Smith
(R-NH) proposed an amendment, S.AMDT.2434, to Elementary and Secondary
Education Reauthorization (ESEA) - S.1513 - that would prevent federal
funding for schools that "implement or carry out a program
or activity that has either the purpose or effect of encouraging
or supporting homosexuality as a positive lifestyle." 
Lieberman voted for the amendment. He voted for prohibiting
HIV-positive immigrants from entering the United States and against
a measure to grant domestic-partner benefits to District of Columbia
Lieberman received an "F" rating from the National Rifle
Association and a 90% from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
He has sought to ban guns in schools and places of worship. He has
voted against prohibiting most lawsuits against gun manufacturers,
but cast another vote that would immunize gun manufacturers from
lawsuits over gun violence. He has voted to require background checks
at gun shows and against allowing guns to be sold without trigger
In 2000, he opposed Al Gore's position to require
a license to purchase a new handgun. Although they disagreed on
this issue, Gore asked Lieberman not to change his position.
Health care and reproductive rights
In March 2006, according to the The New Haven Register, when asked
about the approach of Catholic hospitals on contraceptives for rape
victims, Lieberman said he believed that Catholic hospitals that
refuse to give contraceptives to rape victims for "principled
reasons" shouldn’t be forced to do so. "In Connecticut,
it shouldn’t take more than a short ride to get to another hospital,"
During his 2004 campaign, Lieberman said, "The
day I walk into the Oval Office, the first thing I'm going to do
is rescind the Bush administration restrictions on embryonic stem
cell research." In 2006, he criticized Bush's veto of the
Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005.
Lieberman has been critical of Bush's Medicare plan,
arguing that, in its current state, it does not provide sufficiently
for the elderly.
In 2005, Lieberman, along with Republicans Orrin
Hatch and Sam Brownback, introduced S. 975, the Project BioShield
II Act of 2005. Its stated purpose was to provide incentives to
increase research by private sector entities to develop medical
countermeasures to counter bioterrorism threats. The bill would
have provided tax credits, patent extensions, and immunity from
Lieberman joined a few other Democrats, Republican
Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the Republican Congress as a vocal
opponent of efforts to remove the feeding tube artificially sustaining
Terri Schiavo's life.
When control of the Senate switched from Republicans
to Democrats in June 2001, Lieberman became Chairman of the Governmental
Affairs Committee, with oversight responsibilities for a broad range
of government activities. When Republicans gained control of the
Senate in January 2003, Lieberman resumed his role as ranking minority
member of the committees he had once chaired.
Lieberman cosponsored a resolution urging the Congress to reject
the Bush Administration Social Security Commission's report.[citation
Lieberman described the debate as "this is
an ongoing problem, and we'd be wise to deal with it." He told
The Hartford Courant in January 2005 when asked about Social Security,
"if we can figure out a way to help people through private
accounts or something else, great." Although Lieberman
praised Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for trying to fashion a bipartisan
social security plan, he ultimately voted against the Bush Social
Lieberman has toyed with the idea of switching his
affiliation to Republican, especially if Senate Democrats go what
he sees as too far in ending the War in Iraq.  In the 110th
Congress, such a switch would leave the Senate equally divided,
with Vice President Dick Cheney holding the tie-breaking vote.
He helped defeat the Financial Accounting Standards
Board (FASB) proposal of requiring the reporting of the costs of
stock options as a business expense during the mid-nineties. During
an interview with PBS after the Enron scandal, Lieberman defended
his position, saying, "it was a good action."
Facing the growing stock option scandals, Lieberman ackowledged
that "clearly a disproportionate percent of the options went
to a small percentage of executives. That was disappointing."
Lieberman has voted against amending the Constitution to make it
constitutional to criminalize flag desecration.
Committee on the Present Danger
At the 20 July launching of the 2004 Committee on the Present Danger,
Joe Lieberman and Senator Jon Kyl were identified as the honorary
co-chairs. The Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) is a hawkish
"advocacy organization" first founded in 1950 and re-formed
in 1976 to push for larger defense budgets and arms buildups, to
counter the Soviet Union.
Lieberman sponsored S.J. Res.46, the Senate version of H.J. Res.
114, that is, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against
Iraq Resolution of 2002, also called the Iraq Resolution.
Lieberman defended his support of the Iraq Resolution;
in a November 29, 2005 op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal,
he praised the efforts of the U.S. military in the occupation of
Iraq and criticized both parties:
"I am disappointed by Democrats who are more
focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq
almost three years ago, and by Republicans who are more worried
about whether the war will bring them down in next November's elections,
than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq
in the months and years ahead."
Later, on December 7, 2005, Lieberman said, "It
is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge
that he will be Commander-in-Chief for three more critical years,
and that in matters of war we undermine Presidential credibility
at our nation’s peril. It is time for Republicans in the White House
and Congress who distrust Democrats to acknowledge that greater
Democratic involvement and support in the war in Iraq is critical
to rebuilding the support of the American people that is essential
to our success in that war. It is time for Americans and we their
leaders to start working together again on the war on terrorism.
To encourage that new American partnership, I propose that the President
and the leadership of Congress establish a bipartisan Victory in
Iraq Working Group, composed of members of both parties in Congress
and high ranking national security officials of the Bush Administration."
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid expressed disappointment
with Lieberman, saying, "I've talked to Senator Lieberman,
and unfortunately he is at a different place on Iraq than the majority
of the American people." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
added, "I completely disagree with Lieberman. I believe that
we have a responsibility to speak out if we think that the course
of action that our country is not making the American people safer,
making our military stronger and making the region more stable."
Lieberman responded, "I've had this position for a long time
– that we need to finish the job."
Lieberman's defense of the administration resulted
in speculation that he was attempting to position himself to replace
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld or another high-ranking government
official, but Lieberman has denied having any desire for this. In
2005, media reports suggested that Lieberman might replace Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; Lieberman responded with, "It's
a total fantasy, there's just no truth to it."
On June 22, 2006, Lieberman voted against two Democratic
amendments to the annual defense appropriations bill, including
S. 2766, which called for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
S.2766 did not set a withdrawal deadline, but urged President Bush
to start pulling U.S. forces out of Iraq in 2006. Both amendments
were defeated in the Senate, 60-39.
Lieberman supported the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
and continues to do so. During a 2004 Democratic presidential
primary debate in South Carolina, he said, "though it's cost
some jobs, has actually netted out 900,000 new jobs that were created
by NAFTA". Lieberman also voted for the Central America-United
States-Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in 2005.
Lieberman is also the co-author of the US-China
Relations Act that would create new incentives in bilateral relations
with China. He voted for the U.S./China World Trade Organization
(WTO) Accession agreement in 2000.
In 2002, Lieberman sponsored a pro-Israel U.S. Senate Resolution
(S. Res. 247) regarding the Middle East Conflict, "expressing
solidarity with Israel in its constant efforts to fight against
As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental
Affairs (formerly the Governmental Affairs Committee) in 2001, Lieberman
proposed forming the Department of Homeland Security, a proposal
that passed into law in 2002. As ranking member of the Committee
from 2003 to 2007, he played a leading role in the passage of homeland
security legislation such as the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism
Prevention Act, the SAFE Port Act, and the Post-Katrina Emergency
Management Reform Act, and in the investigation of the Bush administration's
response to Hurricane Katrina. In January 2007 he became Chairman
again of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee,
where he led efforts to pass the Implementing Recommendations of
the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.
Lieberman supports the Alberto Gonzales policy memo on the application
of provisions of the Geneva Conventions. He believes "the decision
was, in my opinion, a reasonable one, and ultimately a progressive
one." He agrees with Gonzales in describing certain provisions
of Geneva Conventions, specifically "that a captured enemy
be afforded such things as commissary privileges, script advances
of monthly pay, athletic uniforms and scientific instruments” as
"quaint". He also agrees with the legal decision that
al Qaeda's members "were not entitled to prisoner of war status."
In 2006, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
that "at least" Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions
is applicable to combatants "in the territory of" a signatory
of the Conventions.
During an exchange with Donald Rumsfeld in the 2004
senate hearing on the Abu Ghraib scandal, Lieberman denounced the
abuses as "immoral" and deserving of an apology. Then
he added, "I cannot help but say, however, that those who were
responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001, never
apologized. Those who have killed hundreds of Americans in uniform
in Iraq working to liberate Iraq and protect our security have never
Senate election, 2006
Main article: Democratic Party primary, Connecticut United States
Senate election, 2006
Democratic Primary Results Candidate Votes Percentage
Ned Lamont 146,587 52%
Joe Lieberman 136,468 48%
Lieberman sought the Democratic Party's renomination for U.S. Senate
from Connecticut in 2006 but lost to Ned Lamont, a Greenwich businessman
and antiwar candidate.
Lieberman was officially endorsed by the Connecticut
Democratic Convention, which met in May. However, Lamont received
33 percent of the delegates' votes, forcing an August primary.
In July, Lieberman announced that he would file
papers to appear on the November ballot should he lose the primary,
stating, "I'm a loyal Democrat, but I have loyalties that are
greater than those to my party, and that's my loyalty to my state
and my country." He stated that he would continue to sit
as a Democrat in the Senate even if he was defeated in the primary
and elected on an unaffiliated line, and expressed concern for a
potentially low turnout. On July 10, the Lieberman campaign
officially filed paperwork allowing him to collect signatures for
the newly formed Connecticut for Lieberman party ballot line.
Wikinews has related news:
Lieberman loses to Lamont in Connecticut primaryOn August 8, 2006,
Lieberman conceded the Democratic primary election to Ned Lamont,
saying, "For the sake of our state, our country and my party,
I cannot and will not let that result stand," and announced
he would run (and eventually did win) in the 2006 November election
as an independent candidate on the Connecticut for Lieberman ticket,
against both Lamont and the Republican candidate, Alan Schlesinger.
Main article: Connecticut United States Senate election, 2006
On August 9, 2006, Lieberman announced his intention to run as an
"independent Democrat" in the upcoming November election.
He petitioned to run on the ticket of Connecticut for Lieberman
party, saying that this was a technicality and that he would continue
to caucus in the Senate as a Democrat.
Polls after the primary showed Lieberman ahead of
Lamont by 5 points; later polls showed Lieberman leading by varying
margins. Schlesinger barely registered support and his campaign
had run into problems based on alleged gambling debts.
On August 9, 2006, Hillary Clinton affirmed her
pledge to support the primary winner, saying "voters of Connecticut
have made their decision and I think that decision should be respected",
and Howard Dean called for Lieberman to quit the race, saying he
was being "disrespectful of Democrats and disrespectful of
the Democratic Party".
On August 10, in his first campaign appearance since
losing the Democratic primary, referencing the 2006 transatlantic
aircraft plot, Lieberman criticized Lamont, saying:
“ If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to
do, get out [of Iraq] by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous
victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in
this plot hatched in England. It will strengthen them and they will
strike again. ”
Lamont and some other Democrat consultants said
that Lieberman was sounding like Bush. Lamont said, “That comment
sounds an awful lot like Vice President Cheney’s comment on Wednesday.
Both of them believe our invasion of Iraq has a lot to do with 9/11.
That’s a false premise.” Lieberman's communications director
replied that Lamont was politicizing national security by "portraying
[Lieberman] as a soul mate of President Bush on Iraq".
On August 17, 2006 the National Republican Senatorial
Committee stated that they would favor a Lieberman victory in the
November election over Democratic nominee Ned Lamont. The NRSC did
state, however, that they were not going so far as to actually support
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani praised Lieberman
at a South Carolina campaign stop on August 18, saying he was "a
really exceptional senator." Other Republican supporters
of Lieberman included Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg,
former Representative and Republican Vice Presidential candidate
Jack Kemp, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Senator
Susan Collins of Maine.
Five Democratic Senators maintained their support
for Lieberman, and Lieberman also received the strong support of
former Senator and Democratic stalwart Bob Kerrey, who offered to
stump for him. Democratic minority leader Harry Reid, while
endorsing the party nominee, Lamont, promised Lieberman that he
would retain his committee positions and seniority if he prevailed
in the general election.
On August 28, Lieberman campaigned at the same motorcycle
rally as GOP Congressman Christopher Shays. Shays
told a crowd of motorcycle enthusiasts, "We have a national
treasure in Joe Lieberman."
Mel Sembler, a former Republican National Committee
finance chairman, helped organize a reception that raised a "couple
hundred thousand dollars" for Lieberman, who was personally
in attendance. Sembler is a prominent Republican who chairs I. Lewis
'Scooter' Libby's legal defense fund. New York Mayor Michael
Bloomberg (R) held a fundraiser for Lieberman at his home in November,
co-hosted by former mayor Ed Koch (D) and former Senator Alfonse
M. D'Amato (R). Koch called Lieberman "one of the greatest
Senators we've ever had in the Senate."
On November 7, Lieberman won re-election on the
Connecticut for Lieberman line with 50% of the vote. Democratic
challenger Ned Lamont garnered 40% of ballots cast and Republican
Alan Schlesinger won 10%. Lieberman received support from 33%
of Democrats, 54% of Independents, and 70% of Republicans. Despite
still considering himself a Democrat, Lieberman was endorsed by
numerous Republicans across the United States. They actively spoke
out in favor of his candidacy. National conservative radio talk
show hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck were among
those that endorsed Lieberman on their shows. Lieberman was also
the focus of websites such as ConservativesforLieberman06.com.
Following the election, Lieberman made a deal with
the Democratic leadership that allowed him to keep his seniority
and become chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee. He agreed
to vote with the Democrats on all procedural matters unless he asked
permission of Majority Whip Richard Durbin (a request that is almost
never made or granted) in return for the committee assignments that
would have been available to him had he remained a Democrat. He
is free to vote as he pleases on policy matters.
The 49-51 Democratic majority in the senate is in Joe Lieberman's
hands. Although he is Independent, he is counted as a Democrat.
Were he to switch sides, the Senate majority would be 50-50, or
49-50, erasing the Democrats' majority.
2008 Presidential Election
Further information: United States presidential election, 2008
Although Lieberman remained a member of Democratic Senate Majority,
he endorsed Republican Senator John McCain for President in 2008.
It marked the first endorsement in the 2008 presidential election
from across traditional party lines. Lieberman cited his agreement
with McCain's stance on the War on Terrorism as the primary reason
for the endorsement. The endorsement sparked Democratic criticism
due to his statement in 2006 saying he would support a Democratic
candidate in the Presidential race. Under Democratic Party
rules, his endorsement of McCain caused him to lose his status as
a superdelegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Lieberman has since indicated that he is even willing to speak at
the 2008 Republican National Convention on behalf of his friend.
Lieberman was alongside McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham during
a visit to French president Nicolas Sarkozy on March 21, 2008 
Lieberman has been mentioned as a possible Vice
Presidential nominee on a John McCain ticket, although
Lieberman has denied interest.
Popular culture and media controversy
Bush and the "kiss"
President George W. Bush leans close to Lieberman at the 2005 State
of the Union.Following his 2005 State of the Union address, President
Bush, while shaking lawmakers’ hands, abruptly grasped Lieberman’s
head in both hands and leaned in close to his cheek. The incident
became known as "the kiss." At first, Lieberman's staff
humorously referred to the embrace as "some kind of Yale thing."
However, political backlash arose among Lamont supporters and other
critics of Lieberman. Lamont backers used the incident in a campaign
button: "The Kiss: Too Close for Comfort" and a large
papier-mache sculpture that followed Lieberman on the campaign trail.
Lieberman has since denied the kiss took place. "I don't think
he kissed me, he leaned over and gave me a hug and said 'thank you
for being a patriotic American,' " Lieberman told Time Magazine.
After Lieberman's defeat in the Democratic primary, an editorial
claimed Bush's sign of affinity cost him the nomination, and referred
to the incident as "the kiss of death," but Lieberman
would still go on to win the seat as an independent.
In February 2007, Lieberman spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee in support of the confirmation of Sam Fox as ambassador
to Belgium. Fox, a prominent Republican businessman and political
donor, was a contributor to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign
in 2004. Fox is also reported to have donated to Lieberman's
2006 Senate campaign.
Lieberman is the author of six books: The Power Broker (1966), a
biography of the late Democratic Party chairman, John M. Bailey;
The Scorpion and the Tarantula (1970), a study of early efforts
to control nuclear proliferation; The Legacy (1981), a history of
Connecticut politics from 1930-1980; Child Support in America (1986),
a guidebook on methods to increase the collection of child support
from delinquent fathers, In Praise of Public Life (2000), and An
Amazing Adventure (2003), reflecting on his 2000 vice presidential