updated 2/23/2007 3:20:35 PM ET 2007-02-23T20:20:35

U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman rejected speculation Friday that he would join the Republican Party, calling the notion “much ado about nothing.”

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Lieberman, I-Conn., told Time magazine this week that joining the Republicans was a “very remote possibility,” prompting speculation by numerous observers and Web journals that he would tip the balance of the Senate away from the Democrats, who have 49 seats plus two independents who caucus with them.

“I have no desire or intention to leave the Democratic Party or the Democratic caucus,” Lieberman said Friday while in Hartford to host an education forum. “I hope and believe we’ll never get to that point, so I believe this latest flurry is much ado about nothing.”

Lieberman, the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000 and a presidential candidate in 2004, has fallen out of favor with many Democrats in his home state for his support of the Iraq war.

He lost last year’s Democratic primary to businessman Ned Lamont, but won re-election as an independent. Exit polls show he was supported overwhelming by Connecticut Republicans.

Lieberman caucuses with Democrats, giving them a majority in the newly configured Senate.

He said his domestic and social policies line up with those of many other Senate Democrats, but admitted that he’s closer to Republicans in foreign and defense affairs.

“I guess that makes me a genuine independent,” he said.

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