December 16th, 2007
05:27 PM ET
12 years ago

Lieberman to support McCain

Sen. Lieberman will throw his support behind McCain, a senior GOP source tells CNN.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat turned Independent, will endorse Republican Sen. John McCain for president, officials close to both Lieberman and McCain familiar with the plan tell CNN.

Lieberman is planning to announce his support for McCain at an early Monday morning event in New Hampshire, but the campaign is keeping a close eye on a winter storm that could force it to be rescheduled.

The McCain campaign declined to comment on the source's account, and would not confirm it.

An aide to Lieberman tells CNN he decided to endorse McCain because he considers him "the most capable to be commander in chief on day one of his administration, and the most capable of uniting the country so that we can prevail against Islamic extremism."

The Lieberman aide insists the senator does not see this as a "commentary on or an endorsement of the Republican party, only the person."

Lieberman had not planned to endorse anyone until after the primary season, but McCain asked Lieberman for his endorsement a few days after the two men returned from a Thanksgiving trip to Iraq together, and Lieberman decided to do it, according to the same Lieberman aide.

Lieberman will continue to caucus with the Democrats.

Like McCain, Lieberman has been a vocal supporter of the Iraq war. For Lieberman, it is an issue that caused him to split with his own political party after losing the Democratic Senate primary in 2006. Lieberman refused to back down, and won reelection as an Independent.

Lieberman was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000.

Lieberman's Democratic colleagues welcomed him back to the Senate, and he is the 51st vote that gives Democrats a razor thin majority in the 100 member chamber. Lieberman chairs the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, and he still attends weekly Democratic strategy meetings.

"I have the greatest respect for Joe, but I simply have to disagree with his decision to endorse Senator McCain," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement to CNN.

Lieberman's office called Reid's office Sunday to inform the Democratic leader of his decision to endorse a Republican.

A longtime Lieberman adviser described it as a "hangover" from the 2006 campaign when Democrats, including Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, and other longtime friends declared they could and would not support his reelection bid after he lost the primary. Instead, they backed the Democratic nominee Ned Lamont.

This endorsement could help emphasize McCain's national security standing, show he is able to work across party lines, and perhaps help persuade independent voters in New Hampshire to support his presidential bid.

- CNN's John King and Dana Bash


Filed under: John McCain • New Hampshire
soundoff (198 Responses)
  1. Mason Myatt Birmingham, AL

    Jesus! (If I may invoke the Right's number 1 Guy) I hate that I did not spell "ignorance" correctly above. It makes me appear, well, ignorant.

    December 16, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Independent in IA

    One loser endorsing another loser...way to go, Joe.

    December 16, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Linda, Wentzville, Missouri

    Lieberman is a closet Republican. Him giving support to McCain is not any kind of big deal.

    December 16, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. Mark, Shepherdstown, WV

    Sen. Lieberman is concerned about Israel's security more than he admits and that is why he is supporting the Mideast war. He is more interested in protecting than the United States, whose vital security interests are not in play there.

    December 16, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. Andrew, Evansville, IN

    Lieberman is about the ONLY Democrat worth his salt. He's got more courage than all the other Democrat weasels wrapped into one. It is truly disgusting how Democrats do not have the courage to admit to their past positions...be it WMDs, Iraq, CIA interrogation methods...it doesn't matter. Hey is you supported something that is not popular not, admit it like a man, or woman. Have the courage to say you were wrong, or that you had a change of heart. If I were a Democrat I would be embarrassed to say I am on of them. Lieberman is his own man...all you other WORTHLESS, SPINELESS Democrat should be voted out of office for lack of character.

    December 16, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Mach Kleef, Willits, CA

    Joe Lieberman and John McCain are both irrelevant losers so it is small wonder they are so close.

    December 16, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Tom, Anaheim, CA

    Joe's really a Republican. He waives his liberal voting record but when it counts he's lining up with the GOP. Besides he has been a Bush supporter for 7 years. Two of a kind!

    December 16, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. TIM, Boston, MA

    joe will do and say whatever it takes for him to stay in a position of power. no conscience, no shame, and proud of it all. that counts as the most valuable talent in american politics.

    December 16, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. james claremont, ca

    Smooth move CT. We thought you wised up in the primary, but chickened out in November 2006. I hope you all can sleep good knowing you elected Bush with either a D or an I next to his name.

    December 16, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Perhaps a McCain-Lieberman run as moderates who want to reach out to both sides would provide an interesting twist to this election. They might present some interesting choices. It is unfortunate that their support of keeping troops in Iraq for a long time will cause most voters to reject them

    December 16, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. AJ, IL

    Surprise, surprise. Lieberman we all know once you lost the bid for Democratic senatorial nomination, you were pissed! He ran as an Independent but really wanted to run as a Republican. But he knew Republicans would reject him as a true Republican. Now Lieberman is hoping McCain wins nomination so he can the VP nod.

    December 16, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. Axel, RKDA, California

    The GOP can have him. They are a perfect match-up anyway...

    December 16, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. Terry, El Paso, TX

    "The guy gives jews a bad name." – Matt, Portland OR

    Matt, you're a poor example of your race, whatever it is. You should have learned better by now, or at least learned that most people will dismiss you as anti-semitic – rightly or wrongly.

    December 16, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. Kevin Orlando fl

    Thinking for yourself is a dangerous thing in America. You are supposed to the line and don't upset the puppet masters. Thankfully somebody like Lieberman realizes that its ok to stand on your own beliefs.

    December 16, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. Sam C, Ft. Myers, Fl

    Who really cares about this endorsement. Joe is useless Senator from the get go. Why Gore ever pick him to run as VP was beyond me. He wants a cabinet post. Shades of Rumfeld/ /What a bum.

    December 16, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. Matt, Sarasota, FL

    Well that clinches it – if he's good enough for Lieberman, I can cross him off my list

    December 16, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. Jim H, Glendale, CA

    Who was on Tim Russert's show a few days after the Democratic victory? Not any incoming Democrat, but Joe Lieberman and John McCain. Was Russert trying to keep the Iraq war going? Thanks to his 80% Republican support in Connecticuit, Say It Ain't So Joe won the general election against Ned Lamont. Thanks, Karl Rove. Too bad the NIE destroyed the last bit of credibility this guy had.

    December 16, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. Joe Mathews, Manchester, VT

    Joe's thinking that if the Democrats increase their Senate majority, he's toast. Best defense is back a Republican. A little independence isn't bad, but I can't help but think Mc Cain's a little perplexed at all this.

    It will help Mc Cain in the South. Also, keep the Jewish cracks out of this as his modern orthodox faith has no bearing on this situation.

    December 16, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. Mike, San Leandro, California.

    Lieberman is the best senator... that Israel ever had.

    December 16, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. David, Bay Area, CA

    McCain, Lieberman, Hagel, Paul... There aren't many congressman (or politicians in general) who are willing to split with their party to follow their conscience. Regardless of whether you agree with their politics, you have to respect them for having stuck by their beliefs. It's a shame that the primary system all but excludes them from advancing past their disgruntled party faithful to get to the general election.

    December 16, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. Nicholas, NY NY

    ...And this is the man who was going to be our Vice President running for President now? Wow. McCain is ok, but ideologically, I don't see the connection. If the war is the ONLY issue causing Lieberman to do this, that's pretty lame. OBAMA 08!

    December 16, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  22. Rich, Los Angeles, CA

    This Neocon Zionist is a Right-Wing Jew's Jew.

    The fact that he's an Independent and NOT a Democrat which he Claims, makes him more of an outsider and Enemy Combatant to the Democratic Party, although he's Blackwater to Republicans. He needs to be wiped out.

    Take back America.

    RonPaul2008(dot)com

    December 16, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. Brad, from the great state of Texas

    Hey Ginny–speaking of "whining hypocrites", most of the commenters here are just PO'd because Lieberman bailed on the Democrats, then beat their usual spineless jellyfish, Lamont. Lieberman Derangement Syndrome? The psychological community should take heed...

    December 16, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. Walt, Belton, TX

    Well, that clinches it for me. I thoroughly respect and admire both and if Lieberman is behind McCain, so am I.

    December 16, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. Mike O

    The sour grapes comments here are amusing. These two men- in different parties- have very similar overall view. Joe endorsing John not only makes sense, but is consistent with Joe's emphasis one issues.

    It was the Democrats who voted out Joe and turned him into an independent; he has been more foregiving of that than most of us would be.

    The thought is McCain would make Joe his VP pick; it would be a unity ticket. Unfortunately, as the comments here demonstrate, unity is unlikely to be in season in '08. The left especially is looking for blood.

    Myself, I'm a Fred Thompson supporter, but I give a hat tip to two great men of long, principle service to this country. However, I respectfully disagree with them on most domestic policy issues and will not be supporting them.

    December 16, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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