Sen. Lieberman Reflects on Long Career

Lieberman sat down with NBC Connecticut about his career and future

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Sitting inside a now bare Hartford office Senator Joseph Lieberman reflects on 24 years in the United States Senate.

    Connecticut's senior senator has served four terms. He said he's proud of the work he's done for the state; fighting for the defense industry, a cleaner environment and helping those who are less fortunate.

    He said he doesn't have second thoughts about retirement.

    "Any lingering thoughts I might have had about running again were eliminated when I began to think about how much time I'd have to spend raising money to run again and frankly how personally nasty political campaigns have become," Sen. Lieberman said.

    What's Next for Sen. Joe Lieberman

    [HAR] What's Next for Sen. Joe Lieberman
    NBC Connecticut sits down with the retiring senator as he reflects on his career and tells us what's next.

    Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, prides himself on working across the aisle to get things done. He is concerned there aren't more moderate lawmakers coming in to the new class.

    "I'm afraid right now there will be fewer moderates in the incoming Congress," he said. "You can't function without compromise. I don't mean compromise without principal but you can't get 100 percent of everything you want."

    Senator Lieberman came into office in 1988.

    "When we first went to Washington we had a new baby," Lieberman said. "Our baby was less than one."

    Now, he and his wife Hadassah have four grown children and 12 grandchildren.

    His career took him ever so close to becoming vice president.

    "Of course I think about 2000, but I don't think about it every day," he said. "It was an incredible chapter of my life. One I couldn't have dreamed of."

    Lieberman said he's grateful to Al Gore and still exchanges occasional e-mails with him.

    Six years later in 2006, he lost a tough primary battle to Ned Lamont. He eventually ran as an independent causing strife within the Democratic party. But Lieberman said to this day, he doesn't regret it.

    "When I lost the primary, it hurt," he said. "But I will say that when I won re-election, it was really the most thrilling single moment of my political career."

    Lieberman's career is winding down. He said he hasn't been asked to take a cabinet position in Obama's second term.

    "I have not and don't expect to be," he added.

    His name has been rumored among many as a possibility for Secretary of State or Defense.

    "If the president asked me to serve, I would give it the most serious consideration," Lieberman said.

    The senator said he plans to return to Connecticut. He said he could see himself working in the private sector in law and be involved in public policy.

    He added that his family is happy he will be home more.

    "I think they are. The kids are particularly. I think Hadassah is too," he said.

    Lieberman's Hartford office is being cleaned out. His final month in office will include dealing with the fiscal cliff.

    Asked what he hoped his legacy would be, he said, "I guess I hope they say I believed in bipartisanship and as a result I lived it and I got a lot of things done."