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Breaking Ranks

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), left, is to get the endorsement of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), left, is to get the endorsement of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000. (By Susan Walsh -- Associated Press)

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Monday, December 17, 2007

LIEBERMAN TO BACK MCCAIN

Breaking Ranks

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.), the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee who currently lists his party affiliation as "Independent Democrat," will break party ranks to endorse Sen. John McCain's presidential bid, according to sources close to the Arizona Republican. The announcement will be made Monday morning in New Hampshire.

McCain and Lieberman have been friends for years and have emerged over the past several years as two of the most outspoken congressional proponents of the war in Iraq. Lieberman's support for the war cost him his party's Senate nomination in 2006, as antiwar forces rallied behind businessman Ned Lamont to oust him. Though Lieberman lost the Democratic primary, he won the general election as an independent.

While Lieberman has grown less and less popular within Democratic ranks, he remains a respected figure among moderate and unaligned voters. That constituency is crucial in New Hampshire, where unaffiliated voters, who can vote in either party's primary on Jan. 8, make up roughly 40 percent of the electorate. "At this stage, every little thing matters as they're fighting for political survival," said John Weaver, a longtime McCain ally who left his job as a senior adviser to the campaign in a staff shake-up. "This endorsement could help, unless the entire focus of it is Iraq."

Lieberman's announcement follows endorsements of McCain over the weekend by the editorial boards of the Des Moines Register and the Boston Globe.

-- Chris Cillizza

KERREY SIGNS ON

One More for Clinton

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton celebrated one high-profile endorsement, from the Des Moines Register's editorial board, by announcing a second: from former senator Bob Kerrey, the renegade Nebraskan-turned-New Yorker.

Kerrey told an energetic crowd gathered at a high school here that he is backing Clinton "enthusiastically and unequivocally." The former first lady stood next to Kerrey onstage, beaming. "I am absolutely overwhelmed personally to have my friend of 25 years, Bob Kerrey, endorse me with such a vote of confidence," she said.

Now president of the New School in New York City, Kerrey served as a U.S. senator and governor of Nebraska. He also was a Navy SEAL in Vietnam.


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