U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman used some of his farewell speech Wednesday to urge newly elected Senators to ignore political strategists who tell them not to take an interest in foreign policy.
“Do not listen to the political consultants or others who tell you that you shouldn’t spend time on foreign affairs or national security. They’re wrong,” Lieberman said on the Senate floor. “Do not underestimate the impact you could have by getting involved in matters of foreign policy and national security.”
Aside from foreign policy, Lieberman reflected on his political career and the opportunity he was given by former Vice President Al Gore, who chose him to be his running mate back in 2000.
“It will forever remain one of my deepest honors that, thanks to Vice President Gore, I was given the opportunity to be the first Jewish American nominated by a major political party for national office,” Lieberman said.
“And incidentally, thanks to the American people, grateful to have received a half million more votes than my opponent on the other side, but that’s a longer story,” he joked.
But the War in Iraq caused Lieberman to fall out of step with the Democratic Party and cost him the Democratic primary in 2006. He won re-election as an independent and two years later, after mentoring Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate, Lieberman endorsed U.S. Sen. John McCain’s presidential bid. He even spoke at the Republican National Convention on McCain’s behalf.
McCain was the first to congratulate Lieberman on Wednesday for his 24 years of service, but he didn’t elaborate.
“I will have a lot more to say about my friend from Connecticut in the next few days. But in the meantime, I want to thank him for a very important and a very visionary, wonderful statement,” McCain said before yielding the floor to U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
Blumenthal talked about Lieberman’s “unwavering commitment to making the world a better place.”
The speech was aired on CSPAN2.
Click here to read more about his appearance in Hartford on Monday.