Lieberman's Affiliation With Democrats Is in Question By CHRISTOPHER COOPER WASHINGTON --The day of reckoning may have arrived for Sen. Joe Lieberman. The Connecticut Independent, a onetime Democratic nominee for vice president, began talks Thursday with Senate leaders about his future role in the Democratic Party after he infuriated colleagues with his vocal advocacy of Sen. John McCain's bid for the presidency. In the balance are Sen. Lieberman's chairmanship of the powerful Homeland Security committee and his position as a member of the Democratic caucus. The Connecticut senator has voted with Democrats ever since running as an independent in 2006. The talks with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid concluded without resolution. In a written statement, Sen. Reid said he will hold several meetings with Sen. Lieberman before deciding what, if anything, he might do. "While I understand that Sen. Lieberman has voted with Democrats a majority of the time, his comments and actions have raised serious concerns among many in our caucus," Sen. Reid said. Sen. Reid, of Nevada, is walking a tightrope. The party needs every vote it can get to ward off Republican filibusters. Democratic leaders have talked repeatedly about the need for bipartisanship. At the same time, many Democrats want to punish Sen. Lieberman. Some Democrats say he should be thrown out of the party caucus altogether, primarily for the criticism he heaped on President-elect Barack Obama during the campaign. But such a move would carry the risk that he bolt the party altogether. Some Democrats were especially angered when Mr. Lieberman addressed the Republican National Convention and rapped Mr. Obama's opposition to the Iraq war. "Sen. Barack Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man who can do great things for our country in the years ahead," Mr. Lieberman said. "But my friends, eloquence is no substitute for a record -- not in these tough times for America." "His speech during the convention went a little too far," said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Sen. Reid. Mr. Lieberman's advocacy of Republican vice presidential pick Sarah Palin "was the icing on the cake," he said. On Wednesday, Mr. Lieberman issued a statement congratulating Mr. Obama and urging fellow politicians "to put partisan considerations aside and come together." Mr. Lieberman also pledged to work with Mr. Obama and his administration. Mr. Lieberman's office didn't respond to a request for comment regarding Thursday's meeting with Sen. Reid. People familiar with Sen. Reid's thinking said the decision on whether to strip Mr. Lieberman of his leadership role is a difficult one for the majority leader, who considers Mr. Lieberman a friend. In public, Sen. Reid has noted that Mr. Lieberman, the party's vice presidential pick in 2000, has offered a steady Democratic vote on issues not related to national security or the Pentagon, on which he has been more likely to side with Republicans. Mr. Lieberman also has funneled about $100,000 in donations to Democratic candidates for Senate this year. People close to the leadership said it's unlikely Mr. Lieberman will retain his chairmanship when the new Congress convenes early next year. An alternative could be to offer Mr. Lieberman a sub-committee post. In Connecticut's 2006 primary, Mr. Lieberman was defeated as a Democrat by anti-war candidate Ned Lamont. The incumbent senator ran as an independent in the general election and was backed by several Democratic colleagues, including Mr. Obama. After his win, Mr. Lieberman's decision to caucus with the Democrats, along with fellow independent Bernard Sanders of Vermont, threw the chamber to Democratic control.