Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Breaking News: Lieberman will endorse John McCain

December 16, 2007 |  5:08 pm

Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, who was the Democrats' vice presidential candidate in 2000, has decided to endorse Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona for president tomorrow morning.

The news was broken this afternoon on the website of William Kristol, publisher of the conservative Weekly Standard and longtime McCain supporter.

The McCain campaign would not confirm the report but did say it would hold a "newsworthy" town hall meeting involving an endorsement in New Hampshire Monday morning at 8, weather permitting. Wintry conditions there, which forced McCain to cancel a Sunday night event, may force the pair to appear together in Washington instead.

This would make it a very good weekend indeed for the once-faltering McCain campaign, now running second to Mitt Romney in New Hampshire GOP polls where he won in 2000. McCain received the endorsements Sunday of the Boston Globe and Des Moines Register and had already captured the endorsement of New Hampshire's only statewide newspaper and staunch conservative voice, the Manchester Union-Leader.

The endorsement of a Republican by Democrat Al Gore's 2000 running mate is bound to rattle...

and anger some Democratic circles but could provide a significant boost of credibility to McCain among New Hampshire independents, who can vote in the Republican primary and were a significant part of his 19-point drubbing of George W. Bush there in 2000.

Last year Lieberman lost the Democratic Senate primary in Connecticut to Ned Lamont, a political neophyte backed by well-financed anti-war segments of the Democratic party. Lieberman, a former state attorney general, went on to win the general election easily as an independent but still caucuses with Senate Democrats.

Lieberman and McCain have been longtime friends and colleagues, working together on issues of national security for decades. They recently visited Iraq together for Thanksgiving with the troops.

Trying to head off further political speculation, a Lieberman aide told Fox News that Lieberman had no intention of joining a McCain ticket. He said McCain approached Lieberman about an endorsement two weeks ago and Lieberman made his decision a week ago. Lieberman had previously indicated he would hold off on endorsing any candidate.

But when McCain asked, the senior aide said, "Lieberman just thought McCain was clearly the most qualified candidate (of the entire '08 line-up) to be commander in chief from day one so rather than just observe from the sidelines, the senator now hopes to actually influence the process."

Connecticut's other Democratic senator, Chris Dodd, has moved his family to Iowa to campaign there fulltime in hopes of gaining some traction in his presidential bid, which has done pooorly in polls.

--Andrew Malcolm