Dozens of Washington’s power players were on hand for Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s retirement party Thursday, but his buddy, Sen. John McCain, brought down the house when he turned a set of greetings into a roast instead.
Seems McCain and Lieberman, who not only shared time in the Senate but had also both hoped to be in the White House one day, also shared a lot of dinners, elevators and talks that brought McCain to make a “major announcement” at the dinner.
“I’m converting to Judaism,” he joked, according to a report in the Jewish Daily Forward
McCain said he’s been on a lot of trips abroad with Lieberman, and he picked up on his colleague’s Jewish beliefs and became observant.
“I had to put up all the years with the bulls**t of religion, I might as well convert,” said McCain as Lieberman and the hundred other guests, who included former vice president Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak, roared with laughter.
The party, thrown by Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, lapped it up as McCain took issue with the Shabbat elevator, which stops on every floor so an observant Jew doesn’t need to push the button of his desired floor.
He also complained about the salmon that’s served at every meal when hosts try pleasing their kosher guests, having to walk to vote with Lieberman on Saturdays and recalled a trip to Germany when he woke up on the plane and saw his friend wrapped in a Jewish prayer shawl.
“I see this guy wrapped in a shawl,” he said, “I thought maybe I died.”
And after he had to “put up with this all these years,” McCain said, it’s a natural move for him to convert.
Lieberman, the Democrats' 2000 pick for vice president who is retiring from the Senate after four terms, took the jokes well and responded with a few of his own.
“Today we gained John McCain,” he said, turning to his colleague. “Your entry to the covenant was a lot less painful than mine.”
When Oren presented Lieberman with a copy of the Bible, the retiring senator responded that he had already read the book. "But this is a signed copy," quipped the ambassador.
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