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. Old Man River

    Like them both or not, McCain has a point. Lieberman is an expert on foreign relations, more so than Joe Biden. As a Democrat, I was upset that Lieberman would support McCain when so many had such high hopes for what Obama would do. Obama has come to learn what Washington politics is all about. Forget your campaign promises, sincere though they may be. Congress has its own agenda that doesn't often jibe with the single agenda of the president, whomever that might be. Obama has learned, as had Clinton before him, that compromise is the only way to get any part of your agenda realized. Lieberman would be a good choice, and I think Obama realises this despite their past political loggerheads.

    January 19, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. shamgar50

    I would hope Obama wouldn't consider Lieberman for anything! When he's gone, let him fade from memory. That would be the worst fate imaginable for him!

    January 19, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. dont care what you Demoncrates say

    I personally wish McCain would step down, he is a waste to the American dream.

    January 19, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Charlotte

    Oh, God. The last thing we need is some rabid pro-Israeli sort as Defense Secretary. No, no, no!

    January 19, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. FM

    "McCain said that Lieberman told him that he is "tired" after 40 years in public service".
    Sen. McCain, your good friend is exhausted after working almost half a century and you want him to take even a more demanding job!!!! I presume you don't like him!

    January 19, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. Lee from NJ

    Joe Lieberman ought to just take this retirement as an opportunity to finally formalize his man-crush on John McCain and stay away from politics.

    January 19, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. NVa Native

    Nobody McCain picks deserves to be toll booth operator, let alone in a place of importance. He has proved himself an utter failure at vetting people. "The curse of Palin" ring a bell??

    January 19, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    If only McCain would do the same as Lieberman and bugger off. That's the change I hope for.

    January 19, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. A. Goodwin

    Leiberman for Defense Secretary – absolutely not. We need someone who has a backbone – not someone who fips and flops like the wind.

    January 19, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. Aaron

    Oh, heck no! Why would Obama ever put that sniffling, back-stabbing, treacherous little creep in as Sec of Defense????

    January 19, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. Cascadoux

    Hush for a moment...please allow the president to do his job. The betrayal of Lieberman to the Democrats, and especially to Obama, is fresh in my mind. Then again, it is always encouraged to keep your enemies closer.

    January 19, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Mr. McCain -

    1.) After your selection of Sarah P., a crapshoot by you, NOBODY has any respect for anyone you recommend for anything. You can`t even get a kid into the Naval Academy, I`ll bet. ItLs called accountability.

    2.)

    January 19, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. Name

    Thank you, but because u think it's. A good idea give it reason for pause.

    January 19, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. jboh

    Who cares what McCain says. He blew the most im portant decision of his life. Who will be a cancer ridden, old man's heartbeat from the presidency. He chose an obviously unqualified talking point reader who failed to live up to her commitment to her own state.

    January 19, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. John

    Too bad Lieberman always put the interests of a foreign nation ahead of the USA's interests. Two guesses how he'd operate as defense chief.

    January 19, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. gt

    good choice...

    January 19, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA

    He could do far worse than Liebrman as Defense Secretary. I doubt he'll ask him though as he supported McCain for President. He needs somebody with credibility though. Tough to find in the Democrat party when it comes to defense.

    January 19, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. civility is cool

    Considering McCain's track record of picking running mates . . . thanks for your opinion, John . . . .but no thanks! 56% percent of Americans are very displeased with the last recommendation you made when you unleashed that boil on the face of America, Palin! Besides . . . it's time for the old guard to start standing down.

    January 19, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. NO WAY

    Heck 2 da NO... He is a back stabber.....

    January 19, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. Sebastian Kent

    After selecting Sarah P.z.. I`m shocked that McCain thinks he has any credibility left to recommend anyone for anything. Don`t want to hear from you sir, it` what we call ACCOUNTABILITY.

    Regarding LIEberman, he didn`t support President Obama in the election against McCain. In fact, he called Obama not ready for the world stage.

    Sorry but we Democrats aren`t wussy soft like that. No one who PLOTS against the President should ever expect such a favor as an appointment to SecDef. Had Joe been a team player, maybe we could talk.

    January 19, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. ABM

    What???? Please!!!!!

    January 19, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. Monster Zero

    Time for them both to hit the bricks with a new Congressional Bill introduced to strip all former Congress members of their lifetime free ride on our backs...
    TERM LIMITS
    VOTER REFORM
    CAMPAIGN FUNDING REFORM
    TREASURY AUDIT
    AND BEST FOR LAST : MANDATORY LONG FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATES FOR ALL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES.

    January 19, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Mr. McCain ... why would anyone take advice from you? You inflicted Sarah Palin on all of us and look how well that turned out!

    January 19, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  24. Jim

    Yeah right, Leiberman for defense sec. Keep on dreaming McCain. All from the senile senator who gave us Palin. McCain please go away and take Joe and Palin with you!

    January 19, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. Clyde

    McCain is an idiot

    January 19, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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