Lieberman officially backed McCain Monday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat turned Independent, announced Monday he is backing Republican presidential hopeful John McCain, an endorsement that could help the Arizona senator court independent voters in the crucial primary state of New Hampshire.
"I know it's unusual for a Democrat to be endorsing a Republican," Lieberman said at a New Hampshire press conference with McCain and former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge in New Hampshire. "It's even unusual for an independent Democrat like me to be endorsing a Republican."
"You know, political parties are important in our country," he continued. "But they're not more important than what's best for our country, they're not more important than friendship, they're not more important than our future. And that's why I'm proudly here to urge Republicans and Independents in New Hampshire to come out on January 8 and make John McCain the next president of the United States."
Lieberman, the Democratic Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2000, said McCain is the presidential contender best able "to break through the partisanship that is poisoning our politics today and stopping us from getting anything done in Washington."
In accepting Lieberman's backing, McCain said, "It is one of the great honors of my political career to have known him, to have worked with him, and to have received his endorsement."
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.
CNNPolitics.com: Lieberman: McCain can reunite our country
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney