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Lieberman may have day of reckoning with Democrats

  • Story Highlights
  • No decisions were made during meeting with Sen. Lieberman, majority leader says
  • After meeting, Lieberman said "we must now unite to get our economy going again"
  • Former Democrat backed Sen. John McCain, the GOP nominee, in presidential race
  • Lieberman could lose panel chairmanship, be asked to leave Democratic caucus
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From Ted Barrett
CNN Congressional Producer
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Joe Lieberman met Thursday with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to discuss Lieberman's future with the Democratic caucus.

Sen. Joe Lieberman's decision to campaign for Sen. John McCain angered Democrats.

Sen. Joe Lieberman's decision to campaign for Sen. John McCain angered Democrats.

After the meeting, the Connecticut senator did not discuss what he and Reid talked about, but said, "The election is over, and I completely agree with President-elect [Barack] Obama that we must now unite to get our economy going again and to keep the American people safe.

"That is exactly what I intend to do with my colleagues here in the Senate in support of our new president," he said. "And those are the standards I will use in considering the options that I have before me."

Reid said in a statement that no decisions had been made during their meeting.

"While I understand that Sen. Lieberman has voted with Democrats a majority of the time, his comments and actions have raised serious concerns among many in our caucus," said Reid, D-Nevada.

"I expect there to be additional discussions in the days to come, and Sen. Lieberman and I will speak to our caucus in two weeks to discuss further steps," he said.

Lieberman, the Democrat turned independent who backed Republican Sen. John McCain for president, angered many Democrats -- including Reid -- when he attacked Obama during the presidential campaign. Video Watch Lieberman call for Americans to unite »

Reid was especially irked by Lieberman's prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention this summer.

During the speech in St. Paul, Minnesota, Lieberman said, "Sen. Barack Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man who I think can do great things for our country in the years ahead, but, my friends, eloquence is no substitute for a record, not in these tough times for America."

After his speech, Obama adviser Robert Gibbs said that "Joe Lieberman ought to be ashamed of himself for some of the things he said tonight, not as a Democrat but as an American."

At stake is Lieberman's chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and possibly his other committee assignments.

Reid could also ask Lieberman to leave the Democratic caucus altogether.

Reid was reluctant to act against Lieberman earlier because Democratic control of the Senate relied on Lieberman's decision to organize with Democrats. But after picking up multiple Democratic seats on Election Day, Reid is politically empowered to strip Lieberman of the coveted chairmanship if he chooses.

The full Democratic caucus would have to approve any action Reid takes when it meets on Capitol Hill in two weeks.


Reid has not been shy in the past about expressing his frustration with Lieberman, who just eight years ago was the Democrats' nominee for vice president.

But he's also repeatedly said he values Lieberman's membership in the caucus because on most issues, Lieberman votes with Democrats.

CNN's Scott J. Anderson contributed to this report.

All About Joseph LiebermanU.S. SenateHarry Reid

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