Former US senator Lieberman, Democrats’ VP candidate in 2000, dies at 82

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NEW DELHI: Former US Senator Joe Lieberman, who made waves in American politics as a Democratic vice-presidential candidate and later as an independent, has passed away at the age of 82. Lieberman’s family confirmed his death in New York City, citing complications from a fall as the cause.
Throughout his career, Lieberman was known for his willingness to break party lines, drawing both praise and criticism.Despite aligning with the Democratic Party in the Senate, he often took independent stances on various issues. While some Democrats were irked by his actions, Lieberman also garnered support from liberals for his advocacy of gay rights, civil rights, abortion rights, and environmental causes.
Lieberman’s political journey saw him come close to the vice-presidency in the hotly contested 2000 election, where George W. Bush emerged victorious by a narrow margin. He was also the first Jewish candidate to be on a major party’s presidential ticket. In subsequent years, Lieberman sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 but withdrew after poor primary showings. He later ran as an independent and was considered for the vice-presidential spot alongside Republican John McCain in 2008, with whom he shared hawkish views on national security.
Known for his candidness, Lieberman didn’t shy away from criticizing his own party members when he felt it necessary. In a notable incident, he reprimanded President Bill Clinton for his conduct during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, although he ultimately voted against Clinton’s impeachment. Lieberman defended his decisions as acts of conscience, prioritizing the interests of his constituents over party politics.
His political career faced challenges, particularly his support for the Iraq War, which led to a decline in popularity in Connecticut. Despite losing the Democratic primary in 2006, Lieberman successfully ran for re-election as an independent, receiving backing from Republicans and the White House. He highlighted his experience and commitment to his state’s interests in securing another term in the Senate.
After his re-election, Lieberman caucused with Democrats but maintained his independent stance, often diverging from the party on key issues. His vocal support for McCain in the 2008 presidential race, including critical remarks about Democratic nominee Barack Obama, strained his relationship with his former party. Democrats viewed his actions as disloyal, especially his active role in McCain’s campaign.
Lieberman’s legacy in the Senate includes his strong foreign policy stance, support for defence initiatives, and advocacy for environmental causes. Despite occasional clashes with Democrats, he remained steadfast in his beliefs and commitment to serving the people of Connecticut and the nation.
Joe Lieberman’s political career was marked by his independent spirit, willingness to challenge party norms, and dedication to his constituents. While he faced criticism and controversy, his contributions to American politics, particularly on issues of national security and social rights, leave a lasting impact on his legacy.
(With inputs from agencies)



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