What You Didn't Know About Sen. Joe Lieberman
• Sen. Joseph Isador Lieberman was born in Stamford, Conn., in 1942. His late father was a liquor store owner. Lieberman was very close to his mother, Marcia, who died in 2005. She was a vocal campaigner for her son—she once sent care packages to members of the media, including a note asking them to "Please be kind to my son!"
• He is the only Orthodox Jew in the Senate and, in 2000, became the only Jew ever to be on a major presidential ticket, running with Al Gore. He takes that role seriously, including his adherence to the Jewish concept of tikkun olamHebrew for "to improve the world."
• While he was a student at Yale, his political ambitions were no secretother students called him "the Senator." After college and law school at Yale, Lieberman practiced law in New Haven, won a seat in Connecticut's senate in 1970 and became state attorney general in 1983. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1988.
• Several years after a divorce from his first wife, Lieberman married Hadassah Freilich Tucker, whom he met through a matchmaker. According to Washington Jewish Week, he thought it would be fascinating to go out with someone named Hadassah, also the name of the Women's Zionist Organization of America. Hadassah was born to Holocaust survivors Samuel and Ella Freilich in a displaced person's camp in Czechoslovakia.
• Lieberman's Orthodox faith prohibits him from working, writing or operating machinerysuch as a television, vehicle, or light switchon the Sabbath, which lasts from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. According to a story Lieberman told Washington Jewish Week, on his first Friday night having to work in 1989, he planned to sleep on a cot in the Senate gym, but a fellow senator stepped in to offer his parents' Capitol Hill townhouse. The senatorAl Gorewalked him there and knew without asking to turn on the lights for him.
• For years, Lieberman was one of the leaders of the Senate's corps of "bridge builders"—respected coalition makers who can talk to senators of both parties to build support for key bills. He drew the ire of many Democrats in 2006 when he switched his party affiliation to independent. He continues to caucus with the Senate Democrats, but has endorsed the Republican candidacy of John McCain.
• Putting morality over friendship, he was the first Democrat to take the Senate floor to chastise President Clinton for "immoral" behavior in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. His friendship with Clinton spanned three decades; as a student at Yale, Clinton went door to door campaigning for Lieberman's 1970 run for state senate.
• Lieberman prides himself on being a "regular Joe"he does the household's grocery shopping and likes to sing show tunes from Oklahoma! and My Fair Lady with the family.
• He has crusaded against mass media's marketing of violent, lewd, and indecent films, TV shows, and video games, especially to kids. In 1999, Lieberman and former Education Secretary William Bennett gave the Fox network their annual Silver Sewer Award for "setting new lows in broadcast standards."
• To avoid eating nonkosher meat, he eats vegetarian meals at functions.
- Almanac of American Politics
- Washington Post
- New York Daily News
- Hartford Courant
- Boston Globe
- Senate website of Joe Lieberman