Former Democrat Joe Lieberman used his last speech on the U.S. Senate floor on Wednesday to call for bipartisanship and get in a last dig over the controversial result of the 2000 election, when he was the Democratic vice presidential nominee.
Lieberman, 70, announced in January 2011 that he would retire when his fourth term ends next month rather than seek re-election. He reflected on his career in remarks that lasted for about 20 minutes, recounting landmarks in his career and changes in society since he became a U.S. senator in January 1989.
“When I started here in the Senate, a blackberry was a fruit and tweeting was something only birds do,” Lieberman said.
The four-term Connecticut senator was elected to the Senate as a Democrat in 1988. He sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, but withdrew from the race and John Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, became the party’s nominee.
Known for hawkish foreign policy views, Lieberman lost Connecticut’s Democratic primary to an anti-war rival when he sought a fourth term in the Senate in 2006, forcing him to run - and win - as an independent.
Lieberman, 70, remains strongly allied with the Democratic Party, but more recently also has been well-known as one of the “Three Amigos,” with Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
The trio has had a strong influence on U.S. foreign policy debate partly because it has representation from both parties. Lieberman at times angered some fellow Democrats for siding with Republicans, for example by refusing to vote with other members of his party in 2007 to set a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq.
Democrats also became furious with Lieberman in the 2008 election for backing McCain, the Republican nominee, rather than the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama.