Sen. Joe Lieberman says he is not sure he will back President Barack Obama’s re-election bid and will wait and see who the Republicans nominate. The Connecticut independent also told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday his decision will be based on which of the candidates will be most capable of getting America’s government “back in balance.”
“Somebody asked what are you going to do in next year’s election. I said I’m an independent now and I’m going to approach it from the perspective of an independent – and I’m going to wait and see,” Lieberman said. “I got a year and a quarter – a little less than that – before I have to decide how to vote. I want to see who the Republicans nominate. This is a really important election – I don’t have to tell you.
“Some of it is about foreign policy – who is going to keep us strong in the world – and some of it, of course, is about who is going to show the leadership to get our government back in balance and the economy going again,” he said.
Hannity asked Lieberman how he judged Obama’s record and whether the senator’s support of 2008 GOP nominee Sen. John McCain hurt him among his fellow Democrats – whether he was “excoriated.”
“I don’t know if it is possible for a political party to ex-communicate – to continue on the religious theme – but that might have happened there,” Lieberman said. “Let me tell you some stuff I think that I was relieved that the president did on foreign policy.
“He didn’t do, what I think a lot of the liberal Democrats thought, which is the day after he got sworn in pull us out of Iraq – it has been a methodical withdrawal,” he said. “Secondly, he did surge our troops in Afghanistan. I think the withdrawal strategy now is a little quicker than I would have wanted – but he says he will listen to the generals if they tell him not to do that.”
Lieberman also said the economic stimulus package was probably the way to go at the time.
“The stimulus at the time I think was the conventional wisdom about what would help to get the economy going,” he said. “I think it probably kept us out of a deeper recession. Did it solve our problems? No. Was it all spent wisely? No. So, you know, it is a mixed record.”
Hannity then asked Lieberman about America’s relationship with Israel and whether Obama has strained the longstanding ties.
“I think the president is not anti-Israel -. I think he’s pro-Israel, but I think he’s handled the relationship with Israel in a way that has encouraged Israel’s enemies and really unsettled the Israelis,” Lieberman said. “Because the Israelis have one really good friend in the world – it’s us. But when the president of the United States acts in a way that makes the Israelis wonder whether we are for them, what it does is to discourage them from taking the risk that they would ever have to take to have a peace agreement with the Palestinians or anybody else.”