Former Senator and VP Candidate Lieberman Dies

( – Former Senator and Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman has died at the age of 82. Mr. Lieberman, who ran as VP with Al Gore in the contentious 2000 Presidential contest, died from complications after a fall near his home in New York City on March 27. His wife and family were by his side.

The Democrat, who later became an independent, had a long and fascinating political career and was the first Jewish Vice-Presidential candidate. First elected to the State Senate in Connecticut in 1970, he served there for ten years before defeating Republican Lowell Weicker and entering the US Senate in 1988. His campaign with Gore in 2000 is considered by many as the peak of his career, and his former running mate noted Lieberman’s death, saying, “It was an honor to stand side-by-side with him on the campaign trail.”

The Connecticut native entered the Presidential primaries in 2004 but dropped out early due to poor polling. Two years later, after a primary defeat in his home state, he left the Democrats and stood successfully as an independent. He had clashed with his party several times, including over his strong support of a US invasion of Iraq and his criticisms of Barack Obama as too inexperienced for the White House.

Nevertheless, his strong support for gay rights, abortion rights, and environmental protection won him many admirers on the political left. As an independent Senator, he continued to caucus with Democrats, but he would raise eyebrows and cause tensions with his enthusiastic backing of John McCain, at the expense of Obama, in 2008. He said Obama, during his three years in the Senate, had not reached across party lines and had not “accomplished anything significant.”

Lieberman campaigned nationwide for McCain, which many Democrats considered a betrayal. During his final speech in 2013, however, Mr. Lieberman repeated his belief in principle over party and called for bipartisanship in America’s interests. “I did not always fit comfortably into conventional political boxes,” he said.

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