updated 4/10/2006 12:51:59 PM ET 2006-04-10T16:51:59

Sen. Joe Lieberman, facing a challenge from within the Democratic Party, said Monday he has not ruled out running as an independent in his bid for a fourth term.

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“I have not foreclosed the option,” Lieberman said at a news conference at the Capitol. “If I wanted to run as an independent, I would. I’m running as a Democrat. I’ve been a Democrat all my life.”

Ned Lamont, a Democratic activist and anti-war candidate from Greenwich, is challenging Lieberman for the party’s nomination this year. He has been garnering support from some Connecticut Democrats dissatisfied with Lieberman’s stance on Iraq and his perceived closeness with President Bush’s administration.

The party will endorse a candidate at a convention on May 20.

Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential candidate in the 2000 election, said he is not upset with fellow Democrats for opposing the war in Iraq. He said he also has criticized certain operations of the war and the Bush administration’s handling of postwar Iraq.

“I feel very strongly the world is safer without Saddam Hussein in power. We have to complete the job in Iraq,” Lieberman said.

He said Democrats should also consider his record on the environment, economic development and his support for civil rights and civil liberties.

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