Monday, November 13, 2006

Lieberman refuses to close door on switching parties
November 12, 2006

HARTFORD, Conn. --Sen. Joe Lieberman on Sunday repeated his pledge to caucus with Senate Democrats when the 110th Congress convenes in January, but refused to slam the door on possibly moving to the Republican side of the aisle.

Asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" if he might follow the example of Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont, who left the Republicans in 2001 and became an independent, ending Republican control of the U.S. Senate, Lieberman refused to discount the possibility.

"I'm not ruling it out but I hope I don't get to that point," he said. "And I must say -- and with all respect to the Republicans who supported me in Connecticut -- nobody ever said, 'We're doing this because we want you to switch over. We want you to do what you think is right and good for our state and country,' and I appreciate that."

A spokeswoman for Lieberman would not elaborate when contacted by The Associated Press.

Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont defeated Lieberman in the Democratic primary in August. Lieberman was elected to a fourth term last Tuesday as an independent, and said Sunday his political affiliation will be as an "Independent Democrat."

The Democrats won control of the Senate with 51 seats. Lieberman and newly elected Bernie Sanders of Vermont are the Senate's only Independents.

A switch to the Republicans would bring the Senate to a 50-50 division, giving Republican Vice President Dick Cheney opportunities to break tie votes.

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