Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) suggested in a new interview that he was grateful that political momentum now seemed to be on the side of Republicans.
Lieberman, an Independent senator who caucuses with Democrats, acknowledged momentum for the GOP and said that independents had become alienated from Democrats, who control both the House and the Senate.
“There were a lot of people, particularly Democrats, who were declaring after the 2008 election that we were beginning a period of Democratic dominance that would go on for decades,” Lieberman said during an interview with the conservative Newsmax magazine.
“Now, all of a sudden, the momentum is with the Republicans. And that's — thank God — that's the way people have spoken, you know? That's our democracy.”
Lieberman's spokeswoman Erika Masonhall said Tuesday that the senator's remark of “thank God” in the interview was not a reference to momentum of Republicans, or the GOP winning back Congress, but to the fact that the United States is a Democracy.
She said Lieberman was referring to “in his words, ‘the great fascination with our democracy,’ which is that we live in a country where the people – all people – can make their voices heard.”
But some Democrats are likely to interpret the comments differently.
The Connecticut senator has stepped on the toes of fellow party members before, having endorsed his Republican colleague, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), for president in 2008 over Barack Obama, who was a Democratic senator from Illinois at the time. Lieberman upset members of his former party further by campaigning for McCain.
Masonhall also noted that Lieberman had emphasized that there's “time to fix” that shifting perception among independents who feel their economic concerns are not being addressed before November's elections.
“If the election were held today, there's no question that there'd be significant Republican gains in Congress,” Lieberman said.
The shift, Lieberman asserted, was due to independents who “have turned either toward the Republican Party or against Democrats.”
The 2000 Democratic vice presidential candidate pinned the shift on independents' concerns about the size of the deficits, and whether Congress has done enough of the right things to return the economy to health.
Lieberman said that he's likely to pursue reelection as an Independent — not as a Republican — should he choose to run again in 2012.
“Right now I’d probably be more inclined to run again as an Independent,” he said. “But anything is possible.”
Lieberman also saved words of praise for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate, with whom he campaigned.
“I do disagree with her on some of the specifics that she has said, but I think anybody who underestimates Sarah Palin as a political force in America does so at some peril, because she is speaking for a lot of people out there,: he said. “I don’t know what her future is, but I’m just saying everybody should listen.”
This item was first posted at 10:43 a.m. and updated at 3:15 p.m.
Find the entirety of Lieberman's interview below: