Name at birth: Joseph Isadore Lieberman
Joe Lieberman became the first-ever Jewish candidate on a major party ticket when Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore chose him as his running mate in 2000. Joe Lieberman has been politically active for most of his adult life: he served in the Connecticut Senate from 1971-1980 and as the state's Attorney General from 1983-88. In 1988 he was elected to the U.S. Senate, narrowly defeating incumbent Republican Lowell Weicker. He was re-elected in 1994 and again in 2000 (when he ran for senator as well as for vice-president). Like Bill Clinton, Joe Lieberman also served as chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. Al Gore and Joe Lieberman lost the disputed 2000 elections to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Lieberman then ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, but dropped out of the race after poor showings in early primaries. His support for George W. Bush's occupation of Iraq cost him the anti-war vote, and in 2006 he lost to challenger Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary for his Senate seat. Lieberman then ran for re-election as an independent and won the general election. Though he continued to caucus with Democrats, Joe Lieberman endorsed Republican John McCain for president in 2008 and campaigned for him against Barack Obama. Lieberman announced in January of 2011 that he would retire when his existing term ended at the end of 2012.
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