A McCain-LiebermanTicket in 2008?
Sen. Joe Lieberman ofConnecticut, the former Democrat who was spurned by his party lastyear, feels good about his new "Independent" label.
It showed on Thursday night, Jan. 4, at a gala hosted by Liebermansupporters in a palatial ballroom at Washington's Union Station,where the only prominent Democrat who showed up was the other U.S.senator from Connecticut, Chris Dodd.
During the 2006 elections, Dodd appeared at events for Ned Lamont,the left-wing Democrat who beat Lieberman in the Democratic primaryfor U.S. senator in Connecticut. And Dodd didn't just campaign forLamont: he brought Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and other partyheavyweights into the state, in a determined effort to keep Liebermanfrom winning re-election last November as an independent.
"There is no hatchet to bury," Dodd told NewsMax, when asked aboutbad feelings left over from the campaign. "I wasn't campaigningagainst Joe. I was campaigning for Democrats as the leader of mystate's party," he said.
Lieberman appeared just as eager to let old wounds lie. "He is mysenior senator," he stated emphatically. When asked if he had anyadvice for Dodd as he embarked on a campaign to win the Democraticnod as the 2008 presidential candidate, he said "No."
"I just remember what an honor it was to run for the office ofpresident of the United States. My only advice is, remember to havefun," he said eventually.
Lieberman was joined on Thursday night by Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn.,and by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. But not a single top DemocraticNational Committee official or pundit showed up at the "I'm StickingWith Joe" gala.
Lieberman increasingly has made appearances with Sen. John McCain,the Arizona Republican who now leads the Republican Party for the2008 presidential nomination.
On Friday, Lieberman and McCain joined a panel at the AmericanEnterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington, wherescholar Frederick W. Kagan presented a conservative answer to theIraqi Study Group.
McCain and Lieberman both argued for a "surge" in U.S. troop strengthin Iraq, following Kagan's presentation of his report, "ChoosingVictory: A Plan for Success in Iraq."
"It was a love fest," said Jerome Gordon, a retired U.S. intelligenceofficer and Lieberman supporter who drove down from Connecticut forthe events. "The chemistry between John and Joe was palpable."Lieberman was more demure when asked if he and the Arizona Republicanhad become "a thing" in Washington — referring to a possible2008 McCain-Lieberman presidential ticket.
"We are old friends," he said. "We are good friends."
Last month, Lieberman gave a glowing introduction of his "goodfriend" John McCain, as he was to receive an award from theconservative Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).He recalled going on congressional delegations with McCain around theworld, including one to Pakistan where former Tennessee RepublicanFred Thomson begged McCain for four hours sleep, after arriving inthe frontier town of Peshawar after a grueling 24 hour journey.
"Fred was ready to head back home if John didn't relent," Liebermanjoked. "John was a tough task masker," he said.
The warmth of Lieberman's introduction to his Republican colleaguemade heads turn among the movers and shakers in the crowd."McCain-Lieberman? There's something to that," JINSA board memberMorris J. Amitay told the crowd.
Left-wing groups including Moveon.org have begun to treat McCain andLieberman as a couple as well, with banners on the street below theAmerican Enterprise Institute on Friday that called for an immediateU.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
"McCain don't feel no pain," one of the banners read. "No surge,"read another.
As he had done all through his U.S. Senate re-election campaign,Lieberman insisted on Friday that America is facing a global threatfrom Islamic terrorism similar to the one we faced after Japan'ssurprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
The main difference was that Americans have yet to wake up after theSept. 11 attack, he said.