Lieberman Rejects White House Overtures

Sources: Lieberman rejects White House overtures (CNN)

Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman has twice in recent days said “no” when approached about the possibility of a major job in the second Bush administration, CNN has learned. The Cabinet vacancy at the Department of Homeland Security was the subject of the latest overture, according to congressional and other government sources. Those sources said the earlier overture was to see whether Lieberman might be interested in becoming the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

White House officials declined comment, saying they do not discuss personnel matters.

The Connecticut senator was traveling and not immediately available for comment. His spokesman said the senator had not received a formal job offer and was not seeking a new job, but the spokesman said he could not comment on whether the senator has spoken to administration officials or emissaries about the possibility of joining the Republican administration.

Unlike Michelle Malkin, I’m glad to see the president making these overtures. It makes sense to reach out to the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, especially on the national security front. It’s understandable that Lieberman would turn down the offer, though, given that it would create a vacancy to be filled by Jodi Rell, Connecticut’s Republican governor. Presumably, Lieberman still harbors presidential ambitions and such a move would not win him any friends in his party.

This is something that neither Matt Yglesias nor I have weighed when calling for this move.

Update (1221): Michelle responds in the comments below. Her point on Lieberman re: immigration law is well taken. The obvious rejoinder, though, is that Lieberman’s views on the issue are in synch with the president’s. Appointing an immigration hawk to the post would only matter if he’d be backed by the boss; that would not be the case.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Michelle Malkin says:

    James, my dear,

    You misunderstand the nature of my objection to the possibility of a Lieberman DHS nomination. I don’t care about his party affiliation. I care about his record on immigration law enforcement, his willingness to buck conventional wisdom on threat profiling, and his credibility with rank-and-file DHS employees.

    As far as I know, he has none, none, and none. Which adds up to…zero.

  2. ken says:

    As far as I know, he has none, none, and none.

    This about sums up Michelle Malkin’s knowledge about everybody she writes about. Her knowledge is none, none, and none, which adds up to…zero.

  3. anjin-san says:

    I still find it odd that Guilliani’s refusal to serve has drawn so little comment. After all, in Lieberman’s case there has been a rather transparent attempt to further alter the balance of power in the Senate, so there is good cause for him to decline.

    Mr. Guillaiani refused his country’s call to service during wartime. I guess this is some form of patriotisim that I do not understand…

  4. DC Loser says:

    Giuliani is more patriotic to his bottom line, think of all the consulting gigs he’d have to give up for the government job. And besides, he knows DHS is a thankless job, and if anything happens on his watch it’ll be his fault. He doesn’t want to damage his chances in 2008 for all that risk.

  5. LJD says:


    WTF do you know about Guiliani’s reasons for not accepting the position? Or Lieberman’s for that matter? Then again, WTF do you know about anything? Your lack of understanding goes far beyond his form of patriotism.

    … and Michele Malkin is HOT!

  6. McGehee says:

    …knowledge is none, none, and none, which adds up to…zero.

    Ken, all this time reading your comments, I thought that was your tagline.