September 2nd, 2009 | Uncategorized

‘I did what I thought was right,’ Lieberman says of endorsing McCain

Sen. Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 makes a campaign stop at Diner 21 in September 2006. His defeat in the August primary prompted him to plan chats in Connecticut communities.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 makes a campaign stop at Diner 21 in September 2006. His defeat in the August primary prompted him to plan chats in Connecticut communities. Photo by Ben Temple.

One year ago today, Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 gave the riskiest speech of his political life — a glowing endorsement of Sen. John McCain at the Republican National Convention.

“I did … what I thought was right in supporting my friend John McCain, who also is somebody who I thought by his experience, was best prepared to be President, both in terms of working across party lines and with a record of getting things done,” Lieberman said in an interview this week.

Lieberman called the controversy surrounding his endorsement of McCain as “an unexpected chapter” in his life. After Election Day, Democrats sought to strip Lieberman of his chairmanship of the powerful Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, in proceedings Lieberman likened to “family therapy.”

“There is no question that my colleagues — some of my colleagues on the Democratic side were very upset, some were just disappointed, some understood,” he said.

Lieberman said he credits Obama for stepping in to preserve his seniority in the Senate: “He came in at that point and said to my fellow Senate Democrats, ‘Don’t be vindictive. We want to unite the party. Joe Lieberman is my friend, and I need him to be the President I want to be.’”

Lieberman said that since the inauguration in January, he has tried his best, within the boundaries of his conscience, to help support President Barack Obama and his legislative agenda. “We worked very hard on the stimulus legislation for the economy, which I think has been helpful and will continue to be helpful,” he said.

Lieberman, nearly mid-way into his fourth term as Connecticut’s junior senator, is up for reelection in 2012.