Will Joe Lieberman Oppose John Bolton?

In 2005, the Bolton nomination passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but ran into a filibuster on the Senate floor. It appears likely that his re-nomination will proceed on a similar path. All indications are that Sen. Joseph Lieberman will play a crucial role in determining whether the Bolton nomination will ultimately pass the Senate.

Lieberman was part of “a tiny group” of Democrats who voted for Bolton to become Undersecretary of State in 2001. In 2005, Lieberman reportedly was “considering voting for Bolton” had a vote come up. His spokesman Matt Gobush elaborated:

Senator Lieberman remains undecided about Mr. Bolton’s nomination. As a general rule, he believes the president should have the latitude to choose his own Cabinet, except in the most extraordinary cases. The senator is studying the issues raised by the committee to determine whether this is one of those cases.

Reports indicate that the White House is “trying to take advantage of the current crisis in the Middle East to gin up support for Bolton, an aggressive defender of Israel, among Jewish organisations, despite the fact that most of their members traditionally vote for Democrats.”


A source tells ThinkProgress that Senate moderates will be looking to Joe Lieberman, a long-time advocate for Isreal, before deciding how to vote. A stance against Bolton could weaken the White House’s strategy and embolden moderates to fight the nomination.