Joseph I. Lieberman Joseph Lieberman Office: Junior Senator, Connecticut Political party: Democratic Term of office: January 1989-Present Preceded by: Lowell Weicker Succeeded by: Incumbent (2007) Born: February 24, 1942 Stamford, Connecticut Spouse: Hadassah Lieberman Joseph Isadore Lieberman, (born February 24, 1942) is a Democratic U.S. senator from Connecticut, best known as Al Gore's running mate on the Democratic ticket in 2000. The religiously-observant Lieberman was the first Jew nominated for Vice President of the United States by a major party. In 2004, Lieberman campaigned for the Democratic nomination for President, but gained little support from primary voters and dropped out of the race.
Lieberman defeated liberal Republican Lowell Weicker to win election to the United States Senate in 1988 and was re-elected in 1994 and 2000. A former chair of the influential Democratic Leadership Council, a collection of centrist and conservative Democrats, Lieberman is considered to be one of the most conservative of prominent Democratic politicians. He has been a strong supporter of the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq and criticized some of his opponents in the 2004 Primaries for their opposition to the war; he is also generally more sympathetic to the role of religion in public life than many within the Party, and he first achieved national notice for his public criticism of President Bill Clinton's ethical conduct during the Lewinsky scandal in 1998.
On other issues, such as abortion, gun control and the environment, Lieberman's views more closely follow the positions of the Democratic party mainstream. Although he is sometimes characterized as a "Republicrat" or "DINO" (Democrat in name only) by many relatively liberal party members, including an unfavorable comparison of his rhetoric to that of conservative Democrat Ben Nelson, others (including Lieberman himself) view Lieberman as a Democrat in the tradition of Washington Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, who advocated a hawkish foreign policy and a liberal domestic program. Coincidentally, Jackson in 1970 faced a primary challenge from liberal Democrats unhappy with a three-term senator's support for a controversial war, the same scenario that confronts Lieberman in 2006. Unlike "Scoop" Jackson, however, Lieberman has also been criticized for what is seen as conservatism on many domestic issues, including backing Bush on the Terri Schiavo case and looking to compromise on Social Security privatization.
Those who do not see Lieberman as a DINO can point to the fact that he has consistently received a high rating from the Americans for Democratic Action and a low rating from the American Conservative Union . Some of his critics argue, however, that these scorecards fail to capture the substance of his record on votes that really matter.