With just six days before one of the most important elections in our nation’s history, Sen. Joe Lieberman, one of the most prominent Jewish politicians in the nation, spoke to The Chronicle about the upcoming
“I think where Jewish voters are located in battleground states, they will have the most potential impact,” he said. “The largest Jewish communities are in New York or California, but those states are pretty much decided. In Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, those are where the leads will be close.”
Just eight years removed from the Democratic vice president ticket, Lieberman left the party and became an independent. This election cycle, in a highly criticized and controversial move, he has backed the Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain.
“In my opinion the party changed,” he said of the Democrats.
According to Lieberman, in those eight years the Democratic Party has become less internationalist and has used less of our power to protect American interest and allies. “It has become much less pro-growth and anti-trade. I found myself closer to McCain, I find McCain closer to the Democratic Party that I belonged to, and joined in the ’60s and supported strongly.”
“The reason I crossed party lines is because of who can best lead America,” he continued. “I believe McCain has a much superior record of handling crises’ and a very strong record of working across party lines. [Sen. Barack] Obama doesn’t have a similar record.”
Lieberman said he had nothing against Obama, but in this country’s trying times, experience is something that is more crucial than ever.
“The general focus of the McCain campaign is to have people looking at the records of the two candidates,” he said. “We are facing the most significant economic crisis since the Great Depression and the current wars overseas. We’re angry at (George) Bush, upset and very angry at the economy. We need someone who has a proven record and has taken on the toughest challenges.”
He noted that he has “great respect” for Obama, an Illinois Democrat.
“In some future election I’d be supporting him. Now it seems that McCain is so much better prepared.”
On the always-hot topic of the Middle East, Lieberman said that McCain’s plan is more action-based.
“Both have pro-Israel voting records. Sen. McCain’s obviously is longer,” he said. “I would say the key differences on how they would treat the Middle East, Obama would be much more inclined to talk the Iranian leadership into behaving. McCain would do everything he could do, but talking wouldn’t be the first thing.”
In predicting a McCain victory next week, Lieberman also said that Pennsylvania is critical to the Arizona Republican’s chances.
“We believe he has a chance in Pennsylvania,” Lieberman said. “It is a state that can put him over the top. It’s a tough environment for him and he doesn’t give up. Pennsylvania can expect to see more of us before
(Mike Zoller can be reached at email@example.com.)