McCain: Hopes Obama considers Lieberman for defense secretary
January 19th, 2011
12:33 PM ET
3 years ago

McCain: Hopes Obama considers Lieberman for defense secretary

Washington (CNN) - Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, tells CNN he believes his good friend Joe Lieberman would make a good defense secretary for President Obama, calling him "one of the most informed members of the Senate on national security issues and homeland security issues."

McCain was answering a question from CNN in a telephone interview about whether the president should consider picking Lieberman for the post, since Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he wants to leave this year.

"You know its funny you mention it," responded McCain, "I really hope that the president would consider him. I hadn't thought about it but I sure hope, whatever happens, he will play a major role on national security issues," said McCain.

Lieberman, who already had a rocky relationship with Democrats after running for his Senate seat in 2006 as Independent after losing a Democratic primary, angered many in his former party by campaigning constantly with McCain in his 2008 presidential bid.

Fury at Lieberman erupted in Democratic circles when he spoke at the Republican convention and not only expressed support for McCain, but also said he did not think Obama was ready to be president.
McCain suggested that shouldn't stop the president from considering Lieberman for his cabinet now.

"I know one thing, that the president has reached out to people that otherwise, maybe a couple of years ago, he wouldn't have given serious consideration," said McCain, "but I can't divine the views of the president."

With sadness in his voice, the Arizona Republican called Lieberman "the most decent man that I have ever known in the Senate. He lives his religion and is the most generous spirit."

"He's not going to go into retirement, he just wants to do other things, and I'll miss him every single day," said McCain.

McCain said that Lieberman told him that he is "tired" after 40 years in public service, and admitted that "he knew he had a tough re-election fight" had he chosen to run for a fifth Senate term.

McCain said he will miss their close friendship and camaraderie in the Senate, but also said Lieberman's retirement will create a "vacancy on national security issues, the Middle East in particular."

In his 2008 presidential campaign, McCain came close to tapping the 2000 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee as his GOP running mate.

"Certainly he was very seriously considered, and we chose Sarah Palin instead, but certainly had our most serious consideration and a lot of that had to do with my friendship and respect for him," McCain recounted to CNN.


Filed under: Joe Lieberman • John McCain • President Obama
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    Proof positive that McCain is senile ...

    January 19, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Tea Party hangover

    No ! , Lieberman has done enough damage to this country.He needs to go off into exile. McCain. Lieberman and Lindsay Graham have hurt this country terribly. They love war and torture and welfare, it will take decades to recover from their corruption

    January 19, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. Seriously?

    Not a chance in He!!. Wasn't this the same guy who said (at the Republican Convention) Obama was too inexperienced to be Commander in Chief? Yea, like Obama wants to give this guy the position. . . Not!

    January 19, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. badcyclist

    Lieberman is a non-starter. Personally, I hope that Obama taps Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary.

    January 19, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. EddyL

    McCain SHUT UP....

    January 19, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. mco

    perhaps Palin shpould be nominated, John

    January 19, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Enuf!

    Heck No! after that loser backed down and didn't support our president when he was needed?!!! and we've already seen what can happen when Mcloser suggests someone for a post! he brought us that bimbo!

    January 19, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Oy Vey Az

    "I chose Sarah Palin instead" ... Yup ... That's a great epitaph !

    January 19, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. thomas

    John ,
    your the guy who suggested Sarah Palin be VP . And so did Lieberman !
    NO THANKS !

    January 19, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. kevin

    Has McCain really changed his name to McInsane or better yet to McNoBrains. First he shove the silly stupid dumb as a rock (sorry rocks) Sarah Plain and Simple minded. Now, he want to put a trader on President Obama team. Thank God that President Obama is smarter than the average McInsane. President Obama will never give a position to a person who campaign against him.. McStupid you are making me laugh. Hahahaha Now, go take you medicine and lay down, you been in the sun to long. Poor excuse for a politican. averick I think not, I think never was and never sill be.

    January 19, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. bowie

    Obama would rather stick a fork into his own eye than appoint that traitor.

    January 19, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. Yes or No

    McClain is sick above the shoulders. He still thinks he is Pres. Obama boss (master)

    January 19, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Why? What on earth makes McCain think Leiberman would be qualified for that position? How about Joe Sestak? There's man who is qualified and capable.

    January 19, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. Phil in KC

    Hmm.... On the one hand, they are friends and maybe McCain's sentiments are genuine. On the other hand, maybe McCain wants Lieberman out of the way before he completes his term. Although – the governor of CT is a Dem, so not sure why...

    January 19, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Lieberman might make a good secretary of defense. The question is does he want it if Robert Gates steps down. It is know that Gates isn't going to stay much longer (6 to 18 months I think). The fact that Lieberman is not running for re-election is proof that he can see what is going on and couldn't win because of his positions.

    January 19, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. gary

    Doesn't want to run again as he knows he will lose. Now his senile buddy, who is also worthless, wants to keep him on the federal payroll so he will not have to work for a living. He can always go and live in one of the numerous houses that McCain cannot keep track of how many his wife owns. McCain has nothing but contempt for the President and now he is willing to beg a job for his buddy. What a joke the both of them are.

    January 19, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. vic nashville tn

    McCain didn’t support Joe Lieberman on repeal DADT

    Now days we can’t guess McCain

    January 19, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. Hell no!

    Thanks McCain for forestalling that possibility – Lieberman would be the worst possible choice. He is a rabid war-monger and so Israel-centric he can't think straight. His career has also demonstrated that he has poor diplomatic & personal skills, making him a lousy choice for *any* job, even in Obama's "team of rivals."

    January 19, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. RL

    John McCain needs to keep his mouth shut. Because of him, we are now stuck with Sara Palin!

    January 19, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. NVa Native

    Why would Leiberman be a good choice? Leiberman should retire from public life – maybe he could do another fox anti-reality show?
    BTW – I don't know who has the more annoying voice; Leibermans nasally borish droning, or Palin's high pitched screeching, or Halley Barbors lazy red-neck jibberish?!!

    January 19, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Oh puleeeze!! Liberman?
    That request or 'hope' by McCain sounds an awful lot like one senior statesman hoping that the career of another senior statesman does NOT come to an abrupt end. Bluntly put you're hoping that Obama extends Lieberman's political life expentancy. The sad part fo both you and Lieberman is that based on the way you've treated this President neither one of you has his "ear" to put a good word in. You know, the same way that Senator Stevens (RIP) from Alaska had YOUR ear and he ended up feeding you Sarah Palin as a V.P. running mate.
    You saw how well THAT 'hand washing the other' worked out for us, AND you.

    Let the President pick whom he wants McCain,and stay out of it.

    January 19, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. Matt

    McCain must be crazy. I do not even give cleaning position to Libeberman. He was incompetent and confuse in all issues, specialy defense issues.

    January 19, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. RtB

    McCain is senile. This is the genius that gave us the Alaskan Air Head as a vice presidential pick.
    He ought to retire and follow in Lieberman's footsteps. Good riddance.

    January 19, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  24. ART

    Lieberman does not know if he's coming or going, has no backbone, so no i do not think he'd make a good anything.Not to mention Mccain thaught that idiot Palin would make a good vp.

    January 19, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. Yugo

    Considering his political stance and the troubles in the middle east, he would be not only be in-effective, but a detriment to US foreign policy. Goodbye sir, thank you for your service. Time for a new generation of leadership.

    January 19, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
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