Connecticut Sen. Lieberman Won't Seek Re-Election
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
As Craig LeMoult of member station WSHU reports, that may be just what Lieberman wants.
CRAIG LEMOULT: Lieberman addressed a crowd of supporters and press at a Marriot hotel in Stamford. He said his wife Hadassah once asked him how long he was going to stay in the Senate. He said this was his response.
BLOCK: I promise you that when Regis leaves television, I'll leave the Senate, and here we are.
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LEMOULT: Regis Philbin announced his retirement yesterday. Lieberman first became a senator in 1988. He was chosen as Al Gore's running mate in 2000. And since then, his relationship with the Democratic Party has been a little rocky.
BLOCK: I have not always fit comfortably into conventional political boxes. Maybe you've noticed that.
LEMOULT: During his last re-election campaign, Lieberman's support for the Iraq War became a controversial issue, and he was defeated in the Democratic primary. But he went on to win a fourth term running as an Independent. He caused more headaches for the Democrats in 2008 when he chose to support Republican John McCain in the presidential election over Barack Obama. He even spoke at the Republican National Convention.
BLOCK: I'm here to support John McCain because country matters more than party.
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LEMOULT: Lieberman became a central figure in keeping a public option out of the health care overhaul law, sparking some protests in his home state, like this one outside his Hartford office.
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CROWD: Hey, Joe, remember us? The ones you shoved under a bus?
LEMOULT: John Olsen is the president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO. He says Lieberman's announcement is tough for the state, paired with long-time Democratic Senator Chris Dodd's recent retirement.
BLOCK: One could agree or disagree with the senator, but for sure, you know, the Senate that operates with seniority being important, we've lost two senior senators and we've got a lot of work to do to catch up.
LEMOULT: The race to succeed Lieberman is already under way. Yesterday, Connecticut's former secretary of the state, Susan Bysieqwicz, announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination. And two Democratic congressmen, Chris Murphy and Joe Courtney, have said they're interested. On the Republican side, Linda McMahon, who recently lost a race for Dodd's seat, has said she may run. For Lieberman's part, he's not out of office until January of 2013.
BLOCK: Having made this decision not to run enables me to spend the next two years in the Senate devoting the full measure of my energy and attention to getting things done for Connecticut and our country.
LEMOULT: For NPR News, I'm Craig LeMoult in Stamford, Connecticut.
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