Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Senator Joseph Lieberman defends Sen. Barack Obama

New York Observer
Joe Lieberman, who made history as the first Jewish candidate on a major presidential ticket in 2000, said he once was confronted the storyline about Barack Obama being Muslim and not a strong supporter of Israel.

“I’ve heard about it,” Lieberman told me just now in a telephone interview.

“The one time that I confronted it, I was campaigning in Florida for Senator McCain. I spoke to a large group and a man stood up and asked me about it, or he referenced it. And I said, of course, that I know Senator Obama pretty well. Obviously one’s religion is a matter of choice. Everything I knew said he was Christian. So, I don’t know how widespread it is but that’s the one time I confronted it. And of course the most important thing is that Senator Obama said it’s just not true.”

Lieberman added, “I don’t have to say it again but I will. We’re not in a war against Muslims, we’re in a war against extremists. A lot of them happen to be Muslim.”

When I asked him how important an issue that war will be for voters going into the polls, Lieberman—who almost lost his 2006 senate re-election because of this issue—said...very.

“For some people, the war in Iraq will be the major issue. Frankly, people on both sides of it, who think we ought to get out right away and others that think it would be terrible if we left and surrendered Iraq to Al Qaeda and Iran.

"For Senator McCain, it’s not just what he pledged to do to bring us success and victory in Iraq, his handling of Iraq over the last five years really says a lot about who he is.”

He added, “Fortunately, the war is going better and so is his campaign. And I think some of that is related to the improving conditions in Iraq. But some of it is related to the fact that what John McCain did on Iraq, showed that he’s a leader and people want a leader who will not govern by public opinion polls but what they think is right.”

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