Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman crossed the aisle to support Republican John McCain for president, but he said Barack Obama’s inauguration was “a great day” for the U.S.
The Connecticut senator said in a statement issued after Obama was sworn in: “This is truly a great day for our blessed nation. I was deeply moved and inspired by President Obama’s eloquent and stirring address.
“Now is the time to unite as a nation behind our new president’s leadership and address the challenges facing our country at home and abroad.”
On the night before the inauguration, Lieberman spoke to a group of Connecticut residents in Washington, D.C., and vowed to do everything in his power to help Obama be one of the country’s “greatest and most successful presidents,” the Connecticut Post reported.
He said he had made that pledge directly to Obama three times since Election Day.
Lieberman not only backed McCain, but also spoke on his behalf at the Republican National Convention, questioning Obama as “an untested candidate unwilling to challenge powerful interest groups” as McCain had done.
And in October, Lieberman told Newsmax that Obama had a “naïve” world view that could embolden America’s enemies and called the senator from Illinois “not ready for prime time.”
But Gary Rose, a professor of politics at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., believes Lieberman is sincere in his backing of Obama.
“Even though he was not a supporter of Obama, he does appreciate the historical moment we are in,” he told the Post.
While some Democrats have expressed a desire to chastise Lieberman for his support of McCain, Obama has encouraged Senate Democrats to allow Lieberman to remain chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
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