Sen. Joe Lieberman is appealing for a moment of sanity in the presidential campaign, saying there’s been “so much nastiness” from both parties that Americans will be voting “against somebody” in November rather than for their candidate of choice.
“There’s been so much nastiness all around, honestly, both parties,” the Connecticut independent told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Monday. “The whole campaign has been so negative that I think this is an election where most people are going to go to the poll and vote against somebody — not vote for somebody — and that’s not good for our country.
“I wish the president would blow the whistle and really appeal to both parties to cut the negatives, the nastiness, the unfounded charges,” Lieberman said.
Lieberman, who caucuses with the Democrats but has been an independent since his re-election in 2006, says he hasn’t decided who will get his vote.
But he said he’s tired of the “name-calling” from both President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney and suggested that neither is doing the country any favors by continuing their negative shoot-out.
“I’m an independent. I think most independents want to know what’s the president going to do in a second term, what’s Romney going to in a first term if he’s elected,” Lieberman said. “And the kind of name-calling that’s going on now just brings the whole process down, and makes people distrust their government.”
The senator, who was the 2000 Democratic nominee for vice president, supported Arizona Sen. John McCain in the 2008 election against Obama.
Calling that campaign “dramatically different” from this year’s fracas, he described Obama as “a transformational figure” who seemed to be “walking on a mountaintop.”
“Everybody felt very good. The country needed it. And that’s why he won the election,” Lieberman said.
But he added that Obama has been president now for nearly four years and “things are not as better as he’d hoped they’d be, and the country hoped they’d be.” That’s why, he continued, “too much of the Obama campaign is negative about Romney.”
“The president is saying: ‘It would have been worse if I hadn’t been president. That’s tough to run on,” Lieberman said. “And so I think, really, a better thing to say is here’s what I’m going to do in a second term. Just give me an opportunity to do this again.”
The challenge for Romney, Lieberman said, is to be “really clear” about what he would do differently.
“I think each of them has to give the public a positive vision,” he said. “And in Gov. Romney’s case, because he’s coming in from outside, he really should convince the public — and again this is what independents want to hear — that he’s going to reach out to Democrats, that he’s going to look to build bipartisan coalitions to solve the nation’s problems, the biggest one being the debt and, obviously, the economy and jobs.”
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