Home ‘Always put his country before party’: 2000 VP candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman dies
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‘Always put his country before party’: 2000 VP candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman dies

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The first Jew to run for vice president of the United States on a major party ticket.

Controversy caught up to him in 1998 after he scolded his friend then-President Bill Clinton for his behavior.

Former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut almost won the vice presidency with Al Gore in the 2000 U.S. election and almost became John McCain’s running mate in 2008.

Lieberman, 82, died in New York City on March 27, 2024, from complications attributed to a fall.

Lieberman supported LGBTQ rights, civil rights, abortion rights and the environment, as reported by the Associated Press.

“In an era of political carbon copies, Joe Lieberman was a singularity. One of one,” Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, said. “He fought and won for what he believed was right and for the state he adored.”

For the last 10 years, Lieberman led a centrist third-party movement called No Labels, which reportedly will offer presidential and vice presidential candidates for Election Day 2024. No Labels referred to the Democrat-turned Independent’s death as a “profound loss” and described him as “a singular figure in American political life who always put his country before party.”

If he and Gore had won the 2000 election, Lieberman would have been the U.S.’s first Jewish vice president.

In a statement Wednesday, Gore said he was saddened to hear of Lieberman’s death and called him “a truly gifted leader, whose affable personality and strong will made him a force to be reckoned with.” According to Gore, Lieberman began his dedication to equality and fairness as a young man when he traveled to the South and joined the 1960s civil rights movement.

“It was an honor to stand side-by-side with him on the campaign trail,” Gore said.

In 1998, after scandal over Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky reached its peak, Lieberman said his friend’s behavior was “disgraceful” during an explosive speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate. However, Lieberman voted no for impeaching Clinton.

Lieberman retired from the Senate in 2013 and said he did “not always fit comfortably into conventional political boxes.” His first responsibility was to serve his constituents, state and country, not his political party. In his final Senate speech, he encouraged Congress to think outside party lines and break the gridlock.

“That is what is desperately needed in Washington now,” he said on the floor.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama tweeted on Wednesday that he and Lieberman “didn’t always see eye-to-eye,” but he and wife, Michelle, extended condolences to the Lieberman family.

Lieberman is survived by his wife, Hadassah Freilich Tucker; daughter, Rebecca Lieberman; son, Matt Lieberman; and stepson Ethan Tucker.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.