Newsweek Incredulous at Lieberman Backing McCain

"Whose side is Joe Lieberman On?" demands the subheading for "The Demublican," a January 24 Newsweek Web Exclusive centered on Sen. Joseph Lieberman's (I-Conn.) endorsement of John McCain for President. In the interview, reporter Jeffrey Bartholet presses Lieberman from the left on a host of policy issues and questions and on his loyalty to the Democratic Party. For his part Lieberman often points to issues where McCain has left the conservative fold, such as climate change and the Gang of Fourteen.

At no point, however, does Bartholet ask Lieberman if he feels the "party has left him" on national security/war on terror issues.

Below are the agenda of questions. I've bolded the ones that skew leftward or suggest Lieberman is disloyal or has no good reason to back a Republican over his party's standard bearers. For the full interview, click here.

  • You almost won the vice presidency as a Democrat in 2000, and you later ran as a Democratic presidential candidate. Now you're supporting a Republican for president. Why the change?
  • You're still a registered Democrat, correct?
  • So you won't be able to actually vote for McCain in the primary.
  • Will you vote in the Democratic primary?
  • Now, as a lifelong Democrat, do you ever worry about the kind of judges a Republican--any Republican--might nominate during the next four to eight years, when liberal justices are likely to retire?
  • I'd like to ask you about a couple of issues on which you disagree with McCain. Abortion is an obvious one. He believes that Roe v. Wade must be overturned, and you don't. Are you concerned about that? Do you think he's willing to negotiate that or moderate his stance?
  • Let me ask about one more issue you disagree with him on, and that's gun control. He believes that gun control is "a proven failure in fighting crime," and you've been for gun control.
  • So you think he might be willing to work with Democrats on measures to regulate gun use?
  • Going back to 2006, some of your critics are suggesting that you cannot forgive or forget what happened during that period, when the party and some of its leading lights backed Ned Lamont for your Senate seat. Some have used the word "vengeful." How do you address that?
  • How did you make the decision [to endorse McCain]?
  • The Clintons backed Lamont in the Connecticut [general] election, as did your colleague Christopher Dodd. That must have had some personal impact. You wouldn't be human if it didn't.
  • There's concern now that since you've backed McCain in the campaign that you'll start caucusing with the Republicans in the Senate and tip the balance of power.
  • When you say "I have no intention …" or "There are no circumstances …" that still leaves a little wiggle room. Are you meaning to leave that there?
  • You've said that you will not run as a VP candidate, yet speculation continues. Do you categorically rule that out?
  • Where can you best help McCain going forward, in which states and with which constituencies?
  • You're talking about bipartisanship. Ironically, in this particular campaign there are Democrats who are saying the same thing. Barack Obama, for instance. In many of his speeches he talks about the need for bipartisanship and the need to win support from Red States and Blue States and so on. Do you not believe that rhetoric?
  • Some of the criticisms of McCain include that he's a bit of hothead and has a temper that flares rather dramatically at times--and that he's old. How do you address those?
  • Right now you're campaigning for him against Republicans. Will it become more awkward--or will you feel uncomfortable--if or when you're out there campaigning against a Democrat?

Photo credit: Charles Dharapak, Associated Press, via

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