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Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Lieberman: Withdrawal would be a 'very serious mistake'
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Joe Lieberman, may have agreed to caucus with the Democrats in the next congressional term, but the Connecticut independent made it clear Wednesday he would not hold the party line on a call for phased troop withdrawals.

"Both general Abizaid and Ambassador Satterfield were quite clear and to me convincing, that for congress to order the beginning of a phased redeployment, a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq within the next 4 to 6 months would be a very serious mistake and would endanger ultimate the United States," Lieberman told reporters after the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Iraq.

Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, who is to become the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee when Democrats take control of the chamber in January, said Tuesday a phased withdrawal is the only way Iraqi forces will take responsibility for their country.

Lieberman's comments are a sign his defeat in the Connecticut Democratic primary has not weakened his hawkish stance on Iraq. Connecticut Democrats voted Lieberman out of the party in August, opting for vehement antiwar candidate Ned Lamont. Lieberman, running as an independent candidate, defeated Lamont in the general election.

-- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
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