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Lieberman Urges Rules Reform, Discusses Career

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call
Lieberman has a long history of working across the aisle, particularly on foreign policy and national security, during his 24 years in the Senate.

Lieberman, who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, blamed partisan gridlock for preventing him from passing a Postal Service overhaul plan and a cybersecurity bill.

“I mean, both of these are classics of this moment in our American federal government history and politics. These are both real and serious problems,” he said.

Lieberman has a long history of working across the aisle during his 24 years in the Senate, particularly on foreign policy and national security. That he is having trouble making deals underscores the scope of the current dysfunction. But he counts new laws to help fight terrorism in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks among his most significant achievements.

“I was not able to successfully participate in passage of climate change legislation, which would also have been energy independence legislation, and I worked on that for a long time,” Lieberman said. He teamed with several Republicans through the years on ill-fated environmental legislation, including with his friends John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Though he might win cheers from some liberal Democrats for his support of filibuster reform, Lieberman is hardly leaving Congress on good terms with Democrats, with whom he caucuses.

His conservative views on foreign affairs and vocal support for intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan led Connecticut’s Democratic primary voters to reject him in 2006. He subsequently ran in the general election as a third-party candidate and held on to his seat. While he had been the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000, the final straw for many Democrats came in 2008 when he endorsed McCain over President Barack Obama.

Lieberman conceded that he did not think about how his endorsement of McCain might affect his ability to get re-elected in 2012. But of course, that issue made the road to re-election that much harder for Lieberman, who decided to retire rather than press his luck.

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