Before hanging it up after nearly a quarter century in the United States Senate, Joe Lieberman spent Wednesday saying goodbye during his farewell diner tour.
Lieberman stopped into five diners throughout the state including White's Diner in Bridgeport, the Athenian Diner in New Haven, Norm's Diner in Groton and Shady Glen in Manchester. With one in each of his congressional districts, he met with constituents to say thanks.
"If it wasn't for people like you, I wouldn't have been there," Lieberman told a customer at the Athenian Diner in New Haven.
Stopping by a booth for a quick hello or even pulling up a chair, Lieberman made the rounds one last time.
Lieberman's last day in the Senate is a week from Thursday, but before heading back to Washington Wednesday night to work on the fiscal cliff, he wanted to stop and say thanks to the people who put him there.
Doug Fortune of Woodbridge said Lieberman was "always a nice guy," and remembered that he "lived in Westville." But other customers of Athenian Diner remembered him long before he got into politics.
"Joe Lieberman was my lawyer for a divorce in the summer of 1969," said Elizabeth Silocka of Hamden.
In 2000, he was the Democratic vice presidential nominee and sought the Democratic nomination for president four years later.
The long-time Democrat caused quite a stir when he won his Senate seat in 2006 as an independent and two years later when he supported Republican John McCain's presidential bid.
"He had a lot of guts," said Vito DeFranscisco of New Haven.
According to The Associated Press, Lieberman has visited about 130 diners in more than 60 Connecticut cities and towns during his tenure.
Since getting elected to the Senate back in 1988, the senator told Eyewitness News that he'd always come to a diner to talk to real people. Lieberman said the relaxed atmosphere would allow them, no matter the topic or conversation, to express their views.
"Even when I was at my most controversial, the dialogue has always been civil," Lieberman said. "People haven't always agreed, but there is a tone, maybe it's because you're around the table, have some food and a cup of coffee."
"One of the things I mentioned is that I'm of the opposite political sense," Silocka said. "None, the less, a great senator, reasonable, did a good job for the state of Connecticut."
On Thursday, Lieberman said he "could not ask for more" than to say a final farewell to his constituents.
"I just wanted to express my gratitude to the people who gave me this opportunity," he said.
Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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