December 16th, 2007
05:27 PM ET
15 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. AJP Richardson, TX

    There is an old saying, "Birds of a feather stick together".

    These two are both loosers.

    December 17, 2007 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  2. Ryan Wilmington, DE

    Lieberman = Benedict Arnold

    December 17, 2007 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  3. Mark, Shreveport, LA

    As I read all the hate-filled, venomous attacks on Senator Lieberman from the liberals, it dawned on me that on the ticker, the most hateful mean spirited, negative people are always the liberals.

    Why are liberals so mean and negative?

    December 17, 2007 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  4. Seam, Philly PA

    2 old skeletons with white hair joining forces. This would be a great ticket for President of the Elderly Community Chapter.

    McCain-Lieberman 2008

    December 17, 2007 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  5. Terry, El Paso, TX

    On Sunday, 12/16/07, Ron Paul broke campaign fundraising records set by two prominent Democrats ..." Jacob from Chattanooga

    To dream the impossible dream! Ron Paul is still languishing at 5%-6% in the polls. The true believers still cling to the shreds of their tattered dream that if we would all just listen to Libertarians we will all be convinced. We've all listened and we've all changed the channel.

    Paul is as dingy as all the other Libertarians, adrift in a fantasy world.

    December 17, 2007 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  6. BR-New York City

    TO: Tim of Edison, N.J.

    How right you are.

    Lieberman is not a member of the United States Congress. He looks out more for his beloved Israel than the American voters and taxpayers.
    Posted By Timothy / Edison, NJ : December 16, 2007 4:07 pm

    December 17, 2007 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  7. Michelle D. - Atlanta, GA

    And does anyone REALLY care? McCain is from another era (as is Leiberman).

    If America wasn't ready for a Jewish man in office, what makes them think a woman or an African-American man are gonna make it either? Now everyone's rallying around Romney (even though Mormanism is as controversial in the Christian culture as Judiesm, Muslimism or Buddism?).

    This country has gone to hell in a handbasket. Don't think we're not going to have a recession or even a depression. Every man, woman and child is burdeoned with a $30K debt as we speak. WHOEVER gets elected is going to have a large hole to climb out of!

    December 17, 2007 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  8. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    Lieberman is not only a paranoid, he is completely duped by this Bush era perverted obsession with terror. This milquetoast elitist wimp has become an unwitting stooge of the neocons, and I predict he'll join the ranks of the GOP next year. Good riddance, wimp! Starting in 2009 the Senate Democrats won't need you anyway!

    December 17, 2007 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  9. Santosh-Phila

    I'm not the least bit surprised. Although I think that if McCain does not get the nomination and Bloomberg jumps in as an independent, Lieberman will endorse him for the general then. Lieberman is basically your last remaining "Scoop Jackson" Democrat. Bloomberg is his perfect fit but I see a decent match with McCain also.

    These guys are basically internationalists just like President Bush but obviously disagree with each other on a number of domestic issues. But Lieberman's probabaly had it up to here with the increasingly isolationist Democratic Party that keeps turning towards protectionist and hands-off America-first approaches, whihc are just not practical in today's globalized world.

    December 17, 2007 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  10. Art, New York

    I'm tempted to move to CT just to get a chance to cast a vote against Lieberman, as self-serving a politician as they come... But then I'd have to live in a state surrounded by "independents" who were dumb enough to vote for him after he lost his in own primary.

    These old, corrupt Senators get so much power that thier constituents won't abandon them ever for a "freshman" senator.

    "Go Joe" -> please, just go away. You're an embarassment to the democratic party, and a total liability to this country's sense of integrity... because you have none.

    I used to like McCain, but the Lieberman endorsement would make me far less liekly to vote for him in the general '08 election.

    December 17, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  11. therealist

    As Joe knows, beware of backstabbing democrats..

    December 17, 2007 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Mason Myatt, Birmingham , Alabama

    The Freedom of Expression is tantamount to Holy Writ for me and I object to virtually all attempts to restrict it. That said, given the numerous outright anti-Semitic remarks spread throughout these comments, I do wonder just what it is that CNN asseses before it agrees to post our comments.

    Certainly a person has the legal right to be prejudiced and anti-Semitic but in my opinion, CNN would be acting within appropriate guidelines to reject comments that are not on topic. I also believe that intelligent people can make the determination that Joe's religious heritage is irrelevant to a civilized political discussion and shouild be rejected on that account alone without regard for the offensive nature of the anti-Jewish observations of some of the commentators here.

    I am not a liberal PC fanatic-though I am quite proud to be a liberal–and I will not censor anyone's opinion simply beccause it is offensive to me. We are not guaranteed the freedom from being offended. The First Amendment protects unpopular opinions and minority opinions-popular ideas do not need protection-but when the electorate is reduced to employing religious/cultural prejudice as its vehicle for political discourse, American values at their best are being injured for everyone.

    God knows one hasn't to look very hard to find substantive issues about which to confront Lieberman, we do not need to fall back on our collective ignorance and cultural prejudices to make our points. I can and do object strongly to his policies on Palestine and his position is likely informed in part on his faith; however, I can attack his Israeli policy without attacking his religion. With a few Maker's Marks and a warm fire I could debate Joe all night about the foolishness of a cosmology developed by a tribal, nomadic, premodern bunch of sheepherders in the millenia preceding the Christian claims of a Holy birth two thousand years ago. But, challenging his religion-actually most of the comments above were more epithet than idea–in a political debate is needlessly offensive, off-point, contray to our traditions in theory and they reflect a big part of the American problem without shining any light on it.

    CNN, do your moderating job!

    Again, the position stated here is not meant to suggest that I support in any way this weasel of a man, Joe Lieberman. Contrary to the truisms stated repeatedly in these comments, Joe is NOT thinking independently, he is talking in sync with the late Karl Rove's talking points to which most conservatives refer in lieu of a personal effort to gather information and then formulate one's position on any given issue. I beg any of his supporters above to find one Lieberman speech that did not echo what the WH was saying at that time. You will not find one. An "independent thinker" would be one who looks at the lost war in Iraq and thinks through to a rational conclusion to the war that is not informed by political considerations. THAT would be independent- and a shocker. Lieberman hasn't voiced an independent opinion since he arrived in DC.

    Endorsing McCain is a political calculation, NOT a principled stand--even if almost anything looks principled after 7 years of lies and deceptions and horrific war.

    CNN, do your moderating job! And thanks for the forum you provide.

    December 17, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. G Keyes, New Haven CT

    Lieberman only a tool for the hawkish Israeli PAC's who hold sway in Washington and he will do anything to back who he thinks will do the most dammage against the Muslim nations in the middle east. There is no excuse for someone who promised to be a strong advocate for democratic causes (as he did during his re-election) to support such a right wing candidate. Shame on you little Lieberman. Just try to get re-elected now!!!! Never happen!!!!!

    December 17, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. Blondie Kansas City KS

    This is great! Even the Democrats are opening their eyes and voting for Republicans!

    December 17, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  15. Independent Voter, TN

    Larry in Columbus:

    Great post. I'm sure you will agree it is so sad to see individuals on this site who stupidly scream "traitor", "loser", "has-been", "neo-con", etc. in all their partisan posts when to me it is so refreshing to see politicians who actually stand for something and who are viewed as being non-partisan.

    My wish for the new year is for an informed and enlightened electorate that can think beyond party talking points (both sides if the aisle). It's sad that a moderate dem and a moderate republican are villified and criticized rather than admired and championed.

    December 17, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. Ralph Z

    Lieberman, McCain?
    Romney and Pat Robertson?
    Cats and Dogs living together! It's the end of the world as we know it!

    December 17, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. Ron Savannah, GA

    Lieberman is to the Democrats what Giuliani is to the Republicans.
    At least Giuliani is relevant.

    December 17, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  18. Santosh-Phila

    THANK YOU JOE; for standing up to these Dems who have stabbed you in the back too often: (See: Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean-2003 and Dem Senators endorsing Ned Lamont-2006). Joe was the only reason that Gore even had a chance of winning in 2000-otherwise Bush would have won handily. Gore still lost b/c he was such a bad candidate with no leadership ability-yet this is how he thanked Joe-stabbing him in the back!

    December 17, 2007 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. Dorothy /Fairview

    Lieberman cares about nothing except Israel.

    December 17, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  20. RightyTighty

    I wonder who Al Bore is endorsing...

    Ha Ha!!

    December 18, 2007 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  21. JD, Syracuse, NY

    a rebel

    December 18, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |


    January 17, 2008 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  23. Vipul

    Or, you could be wrong. John Murtha was on "Meet the Press" today. (But he's been hiding for the 12 hours since, like the gustels sympathizer he's always been since about a week ago. Cowards cut and run, but viewers Tivo and rewind.)McCain, Biden and the other always-guests turn up so often because they have consituencies and do well enough on camera. That's why they're repeatedly asked to appear. Or do you think they bust down the doors of the TV studios, and refuse to leave?

    April 27, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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