From NBC's Mark Murray
With the news that Joe Lieberman (I) today backed McCain's presidential bid, the Democratic Leadership Council -- a group Lieberman once chaired -- issued this statement, courtesy of DLC founder and CEO Al From: "I am very saddened by Senator Lieberman's choice, and profoundly disagree with it. We need to elect a Democratic president in 2008."
But From and the DLC, critics would point out, didn't think it was important to elect a Democratic Connecticut senator back in 2006. From and key DLC aides supported -- and also worked on -- Lieberman's independent Senate bid, after Ned Lamont bested him in last year's Democratic primary. Lieberman went on to defeat Lamont and Republican Alan Schlesinger in the general election.
So why oppose Lieberman endorsing McCain -- but support Lieberman's independent candidacy a year ago? From, through a spokeswoman, gave this statement to First Read: "In 2006, Joe Lieberman ran in the primary as a Democrat and in the general as an independent Democrat, who said he would vote with the Democrats for control of the Senate. That's far different than supporting a Republican candidate for president." The DLC spokeswoman added that From's statement was his personal remarks, not the DLC's.
*** UPDATE *** And you knew this was coming -- Lamont weighs in with his own statement. "During our debate last year, Senator Lieberman intoned that he wanted to 'elect a Democratic President in 2008,' and that my election would 'frustrate and defeat our hope of doing that.' With his endorsement of John McCain today, it is now clear that Joe Lieberman is the one working to defeat our hopes."
More Lamont: "Last year, Senator Lieberman pleaded with voters to consider his full throated support for the invasion of Iraq as merely a 'single issue' in the context of an otherwise progressive agenda. His endorsement of Senator McCain reminds us that the war in Iraq is actually Lieberman's predominant issue, trumping all else -- or maybe he is looking forward to joining Sen. McCain in a duet rendition of 'Bomb, Bomb, Iran'... With voters just weeks away from making their first decisions, Democrats are lucky to have many extraordinary candidates running for President. I am disappointed that Senator Lieberman does not feel the same way."