Senate Governmental Affairs leader may run as independent

Challenger to Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., ranking member of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, says he's too supportive of President Bush.

Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said again Monday he has not ruled out the possibility of running as an independent for a fourth term, if need be.

"I have not foreclosed the option," he told a news conference in Hartford, the Associated Press reported. "If I wanted to run as an independent, I would. I'm running as a Democrat. I've been a Democrat all my life."

From his seat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs panel, Lieberman has long championed federal management reform legislation, working closely with Republican chairmen of the panel. But he also has criticized some of President Bush's initiatives. In a 2003 speech before members of the National Treasury Employees Union, Lieberman pledged to fight the Bush administration on behalf of federal workers.

"Repeatedly, the Bush administration has failed to treat federal employees with respect and dignity and that has got to stop," Lieberman told several hundred NTEU members. "I'm going to be watching...this administration closely, and speaking out wherever and whenever its anti-union bias rears its ugly head."

Lieberman is being challenged for the Democratic nomination by activist and anti-war candidate Ned Lamont, who is seeking to capitalize on Lieberman's support for the war in Iraq and for the Bush administration.

The nomination will be decided at a party convention May 20. During a session with the Windsor Democratic Town Committee Sunday, Lieberman defended his record and said withdrawing from Iraq now would be a mistake, according to the Hartford Courant.

As for the Bush administration, Lieberman said: "I have opposed almost every initiative of this president. I do what is morally right and what needs to be done."