May 21st, 2008
11:10 AM ET
13 years ago

Lieberman: Obama not willing to 'stand up to the left wing'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Sen Lieberman has traveled with McCain on the campaign trail."] (CNN) - Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee, took his criticism of Barack Obama to a new level Wednesday, writing in an op-ed that Republican John McCain’s “political courage” stands in stark contrast to Barack Obama’s – and that his former party had moved “further to the left than it has been at any point in the last 20 years.”

"When total victory did not come quickly in Iraq, the old voices of partisanship and peace at any price saw an opportunity to reassert themselves, Lieberman said in the Wall Street Journal piece, adapted from a weekend speech. “By considering centrism to be collaboration with the enemy – not bin Laden, but Mr. Bush – activists have successfully pulled the Democratic Party further to the left than it has been at any point in the last 20 years.

“Far too many Democratic leaders have kowtowed to these opinions rather than challenging them. That unfortunately includes Barack Obama, who, contrary to his rhetorical invocations of bipartisan change, has not been willing to stand up to his party's left wing on a single significant national security or international economic issue in this campaign,” said Lieberman, who has endorsed the Arizona senator’s presidential bid.

"In this, Sen. Obama stands in stark contrast to John McCain, who has shown the political courage throughout his career to do what he thinks is right – regardless of its popularity in his party or outside it. John also understands something else that too many Democrats seem to have become confused about lately – the difference between America's friends and America's enemies,” wrote the Connecticut senator.

Lieberman added that there were occasions when the tough diplomacy advocated by Obama might be called for, but that he believed the Illinois senator was advocating “a blanket policy of meeting personally as president, without preconditions, in his first year in office, with the leaders of the most vicious, anti-American regimes on the planet.

"Mr. Obama has said that in proposing this, he is following in the footsteps of Reagan and JFK. But Kennedy never met with Castro, and Reagan never met with Khomeini. And can anyone imagine Presidents Kennedy or Reagan sitting down unconditionally with Ahmadinejad or Chavez? I certainly cannot."

Two months ago, Lieberman compared to Democratic icon John F. Kennedy.

“I'm a Democrat who came to the party in the era of President John F. Kennedy,” Lieberman told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week. ”It's a strange turn of the road when I find among the candidates running this year that the one, in my opinion, closest to the Kennedy legacy, the John F. Kennedy legacy, is John S. McCain.”

“…The Democratic Party today was not the party it was in 2000. It's been effectively taken over by a small group on the left of the party that is protectionist, isolationist and basically… very, very hyperpartisan. So it pains me,” he said.

Earlier this month, he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he didn’t question Obama’s commitment when it comes to the Middle East, but said the Illinois senator's failure to set pre-conditions on the meeting shows inexperience, and “not only gives prestige [to Ahmedinajad], but threatens our allies in the region.”

soundoff (239 Responses)

    OBAMA not man enough to stand up for anything. We kick him out of Al Qaeda 'cause he denounce he is a Muslim jus to get White House. Dem Americans crazy. Shore glad he gonna be Presidente 'cause we hate America and he and Gorilla Mouth Michelle will help us to doom America. Thanks Obama you make it easy for me taking care of America. "I KILL DEM!"

    May 21, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. Jim


    May 21, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. PeterO

    What a complete joke this guy is. He should really be ashamed of himself, and the good people of connecticut should yank him out of office. Has he decided if he is a dem, indy,or repub yet. Complete moronic joke of a senator.... looks like a total suck up.

    May 21, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. FedUpDem

    Call to quorum.....
    The Senator from Illinois how do you vote?

    (oh jeeezzz now what do I do?).....ummmmmmmmm....PRESENT!!

    Any other questions?

    May 21, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. Dylan

    Joe Schmo...

    You are such a coward. I am so glad the Democratic Party has rid itself of you for good. I can only hope the good people of Connecticut will do the same next time around.

    Lieberman is a Zionist who puts the Israeli lobby ahead the good of the United States.

    May 21, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. jamie in FL

    Formerly proud Republican voting Democrat for the first time this year.

    May 21, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. Mamatha, Apex, NC

    Obama wasn't in the Senate when it was the time to vote whether a Senator would authorize the use of force. It's very convenient to say he was against the war from the start.
    The president came to Congress with information "confirming" that there was a direct threat to the US and asked for the authority to go to war. A bipartisan group united after 911 to allow such authority – and OBAMA WASN'T THERE YET!
    The was is what it is now and each of the 3 candidates are going to have to deal with the same mess.
    Obama is not going to be able to end the war any faster than the others - he's going to have to listen to the generals, joint chiefs of staffs...

    May 21, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. Jeanne, San Diego

    I'm not that fond of Lieberman so anything he says doesn't carry much weight. He'd be a perfect choice for McCain for VP, though. Two peas in a pod.

    May 21, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. Anna

    Idiot Lieberman.
    Obama does not want to stand up to the left wing.
    They are democrats and he is willing to listen to all democrats, republicans, independents.
    He does not have to stand up to the people, the people stand up FOR him.

    May 21, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. mike

    Joe Lieberman, the biggest wimp in politics is talking about standing up? This man needs to make up his mind where his allegiances are,
    America or Israel. Why has this moron been such a war hawk I ask you? Think about it.

    May 21, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. AJ

    The Republicans have let me down time after time. I can;t in good conscience pull the lever for McCain this year.

    Guess Obama gets my vote.

    May 21, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. Ito, Yokosuka Japan

    Lieberman's an idiot. I'm a Republican and I know as much. While I don't like liberal ideals, I still don't like politicians who can't cut a straight path through the truth. So that pretty much means I don't like politicians, period. It seems you can't be a polician these days without cutting your conscience and morals out of the decision making process.

    People who cling to power for all the wrong reasons make me sick. Hillary Clinton is the worst of them.

    All that said, I must still vote for McCain (over Obama) if for no other reason than McCain will strengthen the conservative slant of the supreme court.

    I say no to the liberal's thirst for irresponsible abortions, gay marriage, more rights for criminals, affirmative action (which IS reverse discrimination), more rights for terrorists, more illegal immigrants, less border security, getting in bed with hostile nations, moving closer to becoming a Godless nation, and everything else they bring to the table with their own special set of interrest groups, lobbyists, tax and spend socialistic reforms, and just as much corruption as the Republicans.

    May 21, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. Zoey

    HAHAHAHAHA Lieberman sounds "bitter".

    May 21, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. ed

    i hope he shot up,judas of the democratic party,he only cares about politicians who says they will use nuclear weapon to defend isreal,well we need wise men to settle critical issues

    May 21, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    Lieberman is wright !!!!

    Obama is way to the left . In fact so far left many dems will not fallow him. To say I will just talk to people that kill for fun, (terrorists ) is so bumb.

    When will dems under stand that all terrorists know is guns, bombs and killing.

    the rest of the world is not like America. The things we take for granted are not so in the rest of the world.

    May 21, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |


    GOOD FOR HER!!!!!!






    May 21, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. Crush Rush

    Lieberman is loved in old aged homes in Florida,I wonder why?

    May 21, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  18. Eleanor

    Lieberman the democratic traitor!!!!!

    Sorry I have no respect for anyone who would rather drop bombs on their fellow man than strive for diplomacy and peace
    Down with the warmongers!!!!

    Obama 08

    May 21, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. Countallvotes

    Hillary just made a very good speach to the people of Florida. Florida votes should count because every candidates's name was on the ballots. COUNT FLORIDA'S VOTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 21, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. Ron

    A spiteful vindictive traitor, the 21th centuries Benedict Arnold. A divider and a conqueror who wouldn't know patroitism if it slapped him in the face. He was rejected by the democrats in his home state and he is repaying republicans for re-electing him. A man with a party and soon without friends, in a word a fool.

    May 21, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. RO, Minnesota

    Sadly, Joe Lieberman is reminding me more and more of another Democrat who went off the deep end a few years ago and turned on his party - Zell Miller.

    May 21, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. Mike

    why do hillary supporters always write in all caps?

    May 21, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. John TX

    I was supporting McCain until all the Hillary people started coming over. Now I've taken a good look at John McCain, and those people are right. He's just too liberal.

    I'll be voting Democrat to teach the Republicans a lesson.

    May 21, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  24. Koronin

    What a hoot: 'When Victory didn't come quickly in Iraq'.....

    There is no victory in Iraq.

    I like seeing Lieberman with McCain, it makes things much clearer.

    May 21, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. real talk tee

    Who cares what Lieberman has to say, the votes are in, If Obama can face the Clinton's he can face anything that anyone can throw at him, please dont take his kindness for weakness, he is a gracious person. Because he does not come out and attack like Evil Clinton or Shutem-up Bush does not mean he will not stand up against left wingers or anyone.

    May 21, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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