NewsJoe Lieberman, longtime senator and vice presidential nominee, dies at 82

Joe Lieberman, longtime senator and vice presidential nominee, dies at 82

1 of 9 | Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., who was the first Jewish American to be nominated on a major party’s ticket in 2000, has died at the age of 82 “due to complications from a fall.” File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 27 (UPI) — Longtime U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who was a vice presidential nominee for the Democratic Party in 2000, has died at the age of 82.

Lieberman, who served in the U.S. Senate for 24 years, died Wednesday “due to complications from a fall,” according to a statement from his family. “His wife, Hadassah, and members of his family were with him as he passed.”

Lieberman, who was born in Stamford, Conn., in 1942, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1988 after serving as a Connecticut state senator and attorney general. Before that, he attended and completed law school at Yale in 1967.

Lieberman was a staunch supporter of Israel and spent much of his Senate career focused on foreign policy. He helped lead the development of the Department of Homeland Security after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In 2000, Lieberman became the first Jewish American to be nominated on a major party’s ticket when he was named Al Gore’s running mate. The Gore-Lieberman ticket lost in one of the closest elections in U.S. history. Lieberman ran for the Democratic nomination in 2004, but dropped out of the race during the primaries.

While a longtime Democrat, Lieberman was well-known for his collaboration with his Republican colleagues, the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and his support for the Iraq War before becoming an Independent.

Lieberman faced backlash for his support of the war in Iraq and lost his Senate primary in 2006 to future Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. Lieberman ultimately won re-election as a third-party candidate under the Connecticut for Lieberman banner. It was the last time a third-party candidate has won a Senate seat.

“If the people of Connecticut are good enough to send me back to Washington as an independent Democrat, I promise them I will keep fighting for the same progressive new ideas and for stronger national security,” he said.

In 2008, McCain considered Lieberman as a running mate on his 2008 GOP presidential ticket. “And I still believe, whatever the effect it would have had in some quarters of the party, that a McCain-Lieberman ticket would have been received by most Americans as a genuine effort to pull the country together for a change.”

Lieberman, who called himself an “Independent Democrat,” went on to endorse McCain for president and even spoke on his behalf at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

“I am here tonight because John McCain’s whole life testifies to a great truth: Being a Democrat or a Republican is important, but it is nowhere near as important as being an American,” Lieberman told the crowd.

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