Leahy: Lieberman should lose chairmanship
Nick Juliano and David Edwards
Published: Friday November 14, 2008

Print This  Email This

Joe Lieberman should lose his Senate committee chairmanship after serving as a key surrogate for Republican John McCain's failed presidential campaign, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, who chairs the Judiciary Committee said Friday.

Leahy, whose comments came in an interview with Vermont Public Radio, becomes the first Democrat to publicly call for Lieberman's ouster as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Oversight Committee.

"I'm one who does not feel that somebody should be rewarded with a major chairmanship after doing what he did," Leahy said, referring to Lieberman's role as a McCain attack dog.

Lieberman's attacks "went way beyond the pale" and "perpetuated some of these horrible myths that were being run about Senator Obama," Leahy said.

While he allowed that each Democratic senator would need to make up his or her own mind, Leahy said that he would not expect to hold on to the Judiciary chairmanship if he'd acted in the same manner as Lieberman.

Leahy is the first senator to go on the record calling for Lieberman to be dismissed, although there have been reports that Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) also are lobbying for him to lose the post.

Obama has steered clear of the fight over whether Lieberman should remain chairman, although he has said that the Connecticut Independent should remain a member of the Democratic caucus.

TPM notes that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been trending towards trying to broker a deal to allow Lieberman to remain in the caucus.

There has been discussion of offering Lieberman the chairmanship of the Veterans Affairs Committee, although Lieberman has demonstrated a commitment to remaining atop Homeland Security.

After losing Connecticut's Democratic primary in 2006, Lieberman ran as an independent and won re-election. He's continued to caucus with the Democrats, although he sharply disagrees with the party on the Iraq war and national security policy.

The following audio is Vermont Public Radio's Vermont Edition, broadcast on Nov. 14, 2008.

Download audio