President Obama paused Wednesday to acknowledge and praise U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman on his retirement. In a brief statement released by the White House, Obama congratulated the Stamford native on "an extraordinary career in public service."
"Joe has spent four decades fighting for what he believes in on behalf of the people of Connecticut," Obama said. "From cracking down on polluters and deadbeat dads as Connecticut's attorney general to his years of work defending our nation's security on the Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees to his relentless efforts in recent months to repeal 'Don't Ask Don't Tell,' his work has touched countless lives in his home state and across the country."
Like many Democrats, the president has not always seen eye to eye with Lieberman. The Connecticut senator has often been at odds with Obama's agenda, most notably on the specifics of health-care reform. In a hotly contested move, for example, Lieberman joined Republicans to oppose a public health insurance option. Many considered it an important component of the health care measure for working families and individuals.
But on Wednesday, short of a gentle reference to past battles, Obama had nothing but praise for Lieberman.
"Even if we don't always see eye to eye," said Obama, "I always know Joe is coming from a place of principle. I know he will carry with him that integrity and dedication to his remaining work in the Senate and to whatever he chooses to do next."
Kind words also came from the office of Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, who maintains a home in Stamford. Malloy lauded Lieberman for his candidness.
"I have never had to wonder where Joe stands or in what he believes," Malloy said in part in a statement. "His body of work across his time in public service is to be commended, and in retirement, Connecticut is losing an effective voice on its behalf."
What do you think of Sen. Joseph Lieberman's retirement and his career in public service? What do you think he'll do next?