Outgoing Sen. Joe Lieberman criticizes colleagues for putting party above country

Jonathan Karl, Richard Coolidge, Jordyn Phelps & Sherisse Pham
Power Players

Spinners and Winners

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., has seen a lot in his 24 years in the U.S. Senate, but the outgoing senator says he has never seen Congress more divided or less productive.

"We are exactly where our first president George Washington warned us not to go, where members of Congress would put the interest of their party or political faction, as Washington described it, higher than the interest of our country," says Lieberman.

"If you look at the record it's either the interest of the party or a rigid adherence to an ideological position that says I will only take 100 percent of what I want on this piece of legislation or I won't vote for it," adds the senator. "When you ask for 100 percent in a democracy where compromise is necessary, the whole country ends up with zero percent."

Lieberman, who has made a name for himself as one of the most bipartisan figures on Capitol Hill during his career, is perhaps best known for being the Democratic vice presidential candidate in 2000. But when his close friend John McCain, R-Ariz., ran for president in 2008, he almost picked Lieberman, by that time an independent, as his running mate.

"When John decided he couldn't go for me as vice president, I actually think he did me a favor, because I could have gone down in American history as the only person to run for vice president twice on different tickets and lose both times, so I'd rather not have that distinction," Lieberman joked.

To hear more about this senator's remarkable career, including what Democrats consider his unforgiveable act in 2008, check out this week's Spinners and Winners.