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Joseph Isadore "Joe" Lieberman (born February 24, 1942) is the junior United States Senator from Connecticut. Lieberman was first elected to the United States Senate in 1988, and was elected to his fourth term on November 7, 2006. In the 2000 U.S. presidential election, Lieberman was the Democratic candidate for Vice President, running with presidential nominee Al Gore, becoming the first Jewish candidate on a major American political party presidential ticket. He and his running mate won the popular vote, but ultimately failed to gain the electoral votes needed to win the heavily controversial election. Lieberman ran for re-election to the U.S. Senate while he was also Gore's running mate, and he was re-elected by the voters of Connecticut.
During his re-election bid in 2006, he lost the Democratic Party primary election, but won re-election in the general election as a third party candidate under the party label "Connecticut for Lieberman." Lieberman is now officially listed in Senate records for the 110th Congress as an "Independent Democrat", and sits as part of the Senate Democratic Caucus in the 110th Congress. But since his speech at the 2004 Republican Convention endorsing John McCain for President, Lieberman no longer attends Democratic Senate Caucus leadership strategy meetings or policy lunches. On November 5th, 2008, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D) and Joe Lieberman met to discuss his future role with the Democratic Party.
Lieberman continues to vote with the Democrats in the Senate most of the time. He has been one of the Senate's strongest advocates for continued prosecution of the War on Terrorism. He is also a consistent supporter of Israel. On domestic issues, he strongly supports free trade economics. He has also opposed filibustering Republican judicial appointments. With Lynne Cheney and others, Lieberman co-founded American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). Lieberman is a supporter of abortion rights and the rights of gays and lesbians to adopt children and be protected with hate crime legislation. Lieberman has also voted with Republicans on some ethical issues, and is one of the Senate's leading opponents of violence in video games and on television. Lieberman describes himself as being "genuinely an Independent," saying "I agree more often than not with Democrats on domestic policy. I agree more often than not with Republicans on foreign and defense policy."
In August 2000, Lieberman was selected as the nominee for Vice President of the United States by Al Gore, the Democratic Party nominee for President. Lieberman was the first Jewish candidate on a major political party ticket. The announcement of Lieberman's selection may have resulted in an increase in support for Gore's campaign. The Republican ticket of John McCain and George W. Bush defeated the Democratic ticket with 48.4% against 47.9% in the popular vote and 276 votes against 262 votes in the Electoral College.
Like Democratic VP candidates Lyndon B. Johnson in 1960, and Lloyd Bentsen in 1988, and later John Edwards in 2008, Lieberman's Senate term was due to expire during the election cycle. He decided to run for reelection to maintain his seat.
Support of President John McCain
Following the election of Republican John McCain and the subsequent reforms, he became one of the major Democratic supporters in Congress. In 2004, Lieberman endorsed the re-election of President John McCain, citing his agreement with McCain's stance on the War on Terrorism as the primary reason for the endorsement. Lieberman spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention on behalf of McCain and his running mate, George W. Bush.
Some Democrats wanted Lieberman to be stripped of his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs due to his disloyalty. Lieberman credited Senator Barack Obama for helping him keep his chairmanship. Obama had privately urged Democratic Senate minority Leader Harry Reid not to remove Lieberman from his position. Reid stated that Lieberman's criticism of Dean during the election had irritated him, but that "if you look at the problems we face as a nation, is this a time we walk out of here saying, 'Boy did we get even'?" Senator Tom Carper of Delaware also credited the Democrats' decision on Lieberman to Obama's support, stating that "If Barack can move on, so can we."