(1942 - )
History was made on August 8, 2000, by the landmark selection of Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew, as Al Gores vice presidential candidate. Lieberman is known for working across party lines to find common ground, for speaking his conscience and for his effectiveness as a legislator.
Born February 24, 1942, to a Jewish working class family in Stamford, Connecticut, Lieberman attributes his value on hard work to his parents. His father worked the night shift loading and unloading a bakery truck.
Lieberman received his bachelors degree and his Law degree from Yale University. In 1970, he was elected to Connecticut State Senate and served as majority leader from 1974 to 1980. From 1982 to 1988, he served as Connecticuts attorney general. In 1988, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, upsetting three-term liberal Republican Lowell Weicker. He was re-elected in 1994 in the biggest landslide victory in a Connecticut Senate race, receiving more than 67 percent of the vote.
Lieberman is a respected leader, a champion of international human rights, and a prominent voice in foreign and defense policy. He has a pro-choice stance on abortion and supports school vouchers, the death penalty and gun control. Strengthening family values and the public school system are two of his main concerns.
Senator Lieberman was the first prominent Democrat to speak out against President Clintons affair with Monica Lewinsky, and his eloquent rebuke on the Senate floor, saying Clintons "behavior is not only inappropriate, it is immoral and it is harmful," helped bring him national attention. Ultimately, however, he did not vote for President Clintons impeachment.
Senator Lieberman is a member of two Orthodox synagogues, one in D.C. and one in Connecticut. Firm in his religious beliefs and practice, Senator Lieberman will not campaign on Saturdays, but will attend key meetings and votes in Congress. When needed in Congress on a Saturday, he has walked several miles to get there.
Lieberman is a strong supporter of Israel and co-sponsored the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, calling on the President to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. While still supporting the move, Lieberman said after joining the Gore ticket that he believes it would be better to wait to see how negotiations develop between the Israelis and Palestinians in the aftermath of the Camp David Summit before moving the embassy.
When questioned about his ability to be an honest broker in the Middle East Peace Process, Lieberman stated, "My first and primary loyalty is to the United States of America." He has met with many Arab leaders including, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat and the late Syrian president Hafez Assad. He has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and he and Al Gore broke from the party line by supporting the 1991 Gulf War.
In January 2002, Lieberman announced that he planned to run for the Democratic nomination to become President of the United States.
Senator Lieberman is the author of five books and lives in Connecticut with his wife Hadassah, a Czech-born daughter of a Holocaust survivor. Together they have one daughter Hannah; he also has a son and a daughter from a previous marriage and she has a son from a previous marriage. They have two granddaughters.
Sources: Various news reports and Senator Lieberman's office.