Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is stepping into the position vacated by Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season White House looks to rein in gas prices ahead of busy travel season Bernie Sanders' ex-spokesperson apprehensive over effectiveness of SALT deductions MORE (D-W.Va.) at the centrist group No Labels.
The organization said Monday that it is making Lieberman — the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee — its new national co-chairman.
“I’m delighted to be joining No Labels at this critical time,” Lieberman said. “We are getting closer, as a nation, to healing our divisions and working together, but we have a long way to go. The 2016 presidential elections are a great opportunity to focus on problem-solving, and No Labels is the only group that can make that happen.”
Manchin announced Friday that he was stepping down from his position with No Labels. The move appeared to be connected to the group’s decision to endorse Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) in his race against Sen. Mark Udall (D), which outraged Democrats.
Margaret Kimbrell, No Labels executive director, acknowledged Friday that the Gardner endorsement played a role in Manchin’s decision.
"We were proud to support Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner who has been a leader at No Labels working with colleagues across the aisle. We repeatedly invited his opponent in the Colorado Senate race — incumbent Senator Mark Udall — to join the group, to attend meetings, and offered him the Problem Solver Seal if he would agree to some simple bipartisan goals. Senator Udall chose not to participate in any way on any level," she said.
"And this situation put Senator Manchin, as an incumbent Democratic senator, in a politically awkward position with the Senate leadership."
Lieberman, who retired from Congress in 2012, will join former Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-Utah) as co-chairman of the organization, which has a stated goal of fostering bipartisan cooperation in Washington.
“Joe was a proven leader and an undisputed problem-solver in virtually every area of public policy when serving in the U.S. Senate,” Huntsman said. “His vision of a new culture in Washington, D.C. — where the politics of point-scoring is replaced by the politics of problem-solving — is a great fit with our organizational goals.”
Lieberman served in Congress for more than 20 years, most of the time as a Democrat, but in his last Senate race he switched to independent after losing the Democratic primary in his state.