Update: Sen. Joe Lieberman won't run in 2012

At a press conference Wednesday, Lieberman confirmed prior reports of his intent to retire. He said he was looking forward to a "new chapter" in his life and urged Americans to work together despite their differences.

Original report follows...

WASHINGTON — Independent Senator Joe Lieberman, Al Gore's running mate in the 2000 White House race, will announce Wednesday he will not seek reelection in 2012, The New York Times reported.

The daily, which cited an anonymous person Lieberman informed of the decision, said the lawmaker opted to retire rather than risk defeat.

"I don't think he wanted to go out feet first," the Times quoted its source as saying Tuesday.

Gore, the Democratic presidential hopeful in 2000, made history by choosing Lieberman as his vice presidential pick -- the first Jewish contender for the spot on any major US political party ticket.

But Lieberman went on to anger Democratic faithful over the years -- notably over his full-throated support for the US occupation of Iraq -- mounted a failed presidential bid in 2004 and lost his Senate primary in 2006.

Lieberman declared himself an independent and won reelection, after which he continued to be a generally reliable Democratic vote in the Senate.

Late last year, he helped steer repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays serving openly in the US military to passage.

He also authored legislation aimed at stripping US citizens suspected of having joined extremist groups like Al-Qaeda of their citizenship.

The senator was scheduled to hold a press conference in his home state of Connecticut on Wednesday.