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Inside Politics

Sources: Lieberman rejects White House overtures

From John King

Sen. Joe Lieberman wrote the legislation that created the Department of Homeland Security.
Joe Lieberman
George W. Bush
Department of Homeland Security
United Nations

(CNN) -- Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman has twice in recent days said "no" when approached about the possibility of a major job in the second Bush administration, CNN has learned.

The Cabinet vacancy at the Department of Homeland Security was the subject of the latest overture, according to congressional and other government sources. Those sources said the earlier overture was to see whether Lieberman might be interested in becoming the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

White House officials declined comment, saying they do not discuss personnel matters.

The Connecticut senator was traveling and not immediately available for comment. His spokesman said the senator had not received a formal job offer and was not seeking a new job, but the spokesman said he could not comment on whether the senator has spoken to administration officials or emissaries about the possibility of joining the Republican administration.

Lieberman, who was former Vice President Al Gore's running mate in 2000, authored the legislation that created the Department of Homeland Security and co-sponsored the resolution giving President Bush the authority to go to war with Iraq.

Nine of Bush's 15 Cabinet secretaries have tendered their resignations, and the president has nominated replacements for all. Bernard Kerik, however, withdrew his name from consideration for Homeland Security secretary on Friday night. (Full story)

The nine departures mark the largest second-term Cabinet overhaul since Richard Nixon's in 1972. Presidents Reagan and Clinton each had seven Cabinet changes for their second terms.

While observers have discussed several names as possible replacements for Kerik, Lieberman drew bipartisan support from senators Sunday.

South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham said Lieberman "would be a terrific pick," while New Jersey Democrat Jon Corzine said, "I hope that Joe Lieberman concept flies."

John Danforth, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will leave his post in January after less than seven months on the job. In a letter of resignation sent to President Bush on November 22, Danforth said he wanted to return home to St. Louis to spend more time with his wife. (Full story)

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