WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Joe Lieberman – who has taken on increasingly high-profile campaign roles on behalf of presumptive Republican nominee John McCain – announced Thursday that he was launching and heading a new grassroots organization, "Citizens for McCain," making a direct appeal to Hillary Clinton’s disappointed supporters.
“The phones at the campaign headquarters have been ringing with disaffected Democrats calling to say they believe Senator McCain has the experience, judgment, and bipartisanship necessary to lead our country in these difficult times,” Lieberman wrote in a message sent to the Arizona senator’s supporters. “Many of these supporters are former supporters of Senator Clinton.”
Over the past few weeks, some supporters of Hillary Clinton – whose campaign announced Wednesday that she would be suspending her presidential run this weekend - have said that they would consider voting for McCain if she were not the Democratic nominee.
Lieberman highlighted McCain’s “very good working relationship with Senator Clinton” – which he said would continue in the future – and his comments praising her in a speech at a Louisiana campaign event Wednesday.
"Senator Clinton has earned great respect for her tenacity and courage. The media often overlooked how compassionately she spoke to the concerns and dreams of millions of Americans, and she deserves a lot more appreciation than she sometimes received,” said McCain. “As the father of three daughters, I owe her a debt for inspiring millions of women to believe there is no opportunity in this great country beyond their reach. I am proud to call her my friend."
He called on supporters to “reach out to Americans who are not currently involved in the campaign.
“Will you help us by recruiting your friends, family, and co-workers who may not consider themselves members of the Republican Party and ask them to join the Citizens for McCain organization?” wrote Lieberman.
“I am confident we will find many Democrats and Independents who, like John McCain and me, put country before political party and will support a leader with a real record of bipartisanship…. Together, we will make history.”
On Wednesday - the first day of the general election campaign – the very first Republican conference call attacking presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama featured Lieberman.
Lieberman has been increasingly critical of Obama. The Democrat-turned-independent has been a strong supporter of President Bush's Middle East and Iraq policies.
Obama endorsed Lieberman in his 2006 Democratic primary battle against challenger Ned Lamont. But after the Connecticut senator lost and decided to run as an independent, Obama switched his support to Lamont, who shared his opposition to the Iraq war.