|U.S. Senator from Connecticut|
From: January 3, 1989-January 3, 2013
|Predecessor||Lowell P. Weicker, Jr.|
|Party||Independent (Caucuses with Democrats)|
|Spouse(s)||Elizabeth Haas (div.)|
Joseph Isadore Lieberman, born February 24, 1942 (age 75), was an independent United States Senator from Connecticut. He was the vice presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in 2000; he and Al Gore lost. Lieberman tried for the 2004 Democratic nomination but had little support and dropped out. He was defeated in the Democratic primary in summer 2006, but ran as an independent that fall and was reelected to the Senate with a Republican and independent voting base. He continues to caucus with the Democratic Party, and thereby has become chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. He is a liberal on most domestic issues but has a hawkish record on foreign policy. He endorsed and campaigned enthusiastically for Republican John McCain in 2008.
In late October 2009, just as it appeared the Democrats had the 60 votes needed to pass their health care bill, Lieberman announced he will join a Republican filibuster against the bill unless the public option is removed. Lieberman thus aligned himself with the conservatives on the major domestic issue of 2009. However, Lieberman voted for the final version of healthcare bill.
Lieberman decided not to run for re-election in 2012.
Joseph Lieberman was born in Stamford, Connecticut, on February 24, 1942, where he attended local public schools. He graduated from Yale University in 1964 and later received a law degree from Yale Law School in 1967. Lieberman served in the Connecticut State Senate from 1970 until 1980 and was majority leader from 1974 until 1980. He later served as the attorney general of Connecticut in 1983, and from 1986 until 1988. In 1988, he was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate and has been reelected three times.
Lieberman has been heavily involved in Democratic Party politics. In August 2000, he was selected as Al Gore's Vice-Presidential running mate, making him the first Jewish candidate for high executive office. The Gore/Lieberman ticket won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College. Lieberman later criticized Al Gore for adopting a populist theme during their 2000 campaign, and stated he had objected to Gore's "people vs. the powerful" message, believing it was not the best strategy for Democrats to use to win the election. On January 13, 2003, Lieberman announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination as a candidate in the 2004 presidential election. Throughout the campaign he claimed that he was picking up "Joementum." Lieberman withdrew his candidacy on February 3, 2004 after failing to win any of the five primaries or two caucuses held that day.
United States Senate
Lieberman gained the reputation as being a moderate Democrat, one with a conservative Judeo-Christian moral code. He was the first Democrat to challenge Bill Clinton for having an affair with Monica Lewinsky. However, he voted against removing Clinton from office. Lieberman is Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
He once described himself as 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." Because of his support for the War in Iraq, he toyed with the idea of switching his affiliation to Republican, although he still has a liberal record on many social issues, such as abortion. He voted against the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act which was enacted in 2003, and he supports availability of the abortion pill RU-486. He has a 100% pro-choice voting record, according to NARAL. Along with Hillary Clinton, he was one of the handful of Senate sponsors of the Freedom of Choice Act.
Senate reelection, 2006
Ned Lamont challenged Lieberman in the primary for his Senate reelection. Lamont won the primary but Lieberman then ran as an independent, creating the "Connecticut for Lieberman" party, and won the general election. He is now an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.
In a strange display of voter choice: Most of the Connecticut voters who voted for Lieberman in 2000 opposed him in 2006; most of the people who opposed him in 2000 voted for him in 2006. Yet Lieberman himself did not change positions on any major issue.
Senator Joe Lieberman crossed party lines to endorse Republican candidate John McCain for president of the United States in 2008. Because of his endorsement, he did not attend the Democratic Convention in Denver (it was the first time he missed the convention since first attending as a delegate of Representative Morris Udall in 1976).