Lieberman Praises McCain Decision on Campaign

Posted September 24, 2008 at 6:26pm

Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) Wednesday praised GOP presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain’s (Ariz) decision to suspend his presidential campaign to participate in negotiations over a $700 billion economic recovery bill and criticized Democratic hopeful Sen. Barack Obama’s (Ill.) decision to remain on the trail.

Emerging from a meeting between Senate Democrats and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Lieberman said he was disappointed in Obama’s decision not to return to the Senate while the bill is worked out and argued that “there’s no substitute for being here.”

Lieberman called McCain’s move “a leadership decision. I admire it,” and rejected complaints of Democrats that the move is a political ploy to avoid Friday’s scheduled debate with Obama.

“If he comes back here, then that part of his campaign is suspended,” Lieberman said, adding that he does not believe it is appropriate for the debates to occur at this point.

The presence of Lieberman, a vocal supporter of McCain’s run for the presidency, at the Democrats-only meeting, was a surprise to many Democrats. Lieberman’s role as an aggressive Obama critic for the McCain campaign — and his decision to criticize Obama not only for his position on the war in Iraq but also his domestic policies — has infuriated Democrats. Lieberman earlier decided not to attend most of the Democrats’ weekly luncheons because the campaign would be such a focus of the meetings.