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ELECTION 08: Lieberman, former Democratic VP nominee, backs McCain

DES MOINES, Iowa (BP)–Republican presidential candidate John McCain received the endorsement Dec. 16 of former Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman, one day after getting the backing of The Des Moines Register newspaper in Iowa.

The McCain campaign hopes the one-two punch will give a boost to the Arizona senator, who began his presidential campaign months ago with high hopes but is in fifth place in the latest Iowa polls. If he doesn’t fare well in Iowa Jan. 3 he could still revive his bid five days later in New Hampshire, where some polls have him in second place.

Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut who was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, campaigned with McCain in New Hampshire Monday. Lieberman won re-election last year as an independent and caucuses with the Democrats.

“On all the issues, you’re never going to do anything about them unless you have a leader who can break through the partisan gridlock,” Lieberman said, according to the Associated Press. “The status quo in Washington is not working.”

The Register’s editorial board cited McCain’s experience in its endorsement.

“McCain is most ready to lead America in a complex and dangerous world and to rebuild trust at home and abroad by inspiring confidence in his leadership,” the endorsement said. “McCain would enter the White House with deep knowledge of national-security and foreign-policy issues. He knows war, something we believe would make him reluctant to start one. He’s also a fierce defender of civil liberties. As a survivor of torture, he has stood resolutely against it.”

On the Democratic side, The Register endorsed U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, four years after the same newspaper endorsed John Edwards in the Democratic field. Edwards is running again this year.

“Edwards was our pick for the 2004 nomination,” the editorial board wrote. “But this is a different race, with different candidates. We too seldom saw the ‘positive, optimistic’ campaign we found appealing in 2004. His harsh anti-corporate rhetoric would make it difficult to work with the business community to forge change.”

The Register cited Barack Obama’s inexperience as the reason it skipped over him.

“From working for children’s rights as a young lawyer, to meeting with leaders around the world as first lady, to emerging as an effective legislator in her service as a senator, every stage of [Clinton’s] life has prepared her for the presidency,” it said.

CASS ENDORSES THOMPSON — Gary Cass, the former executive director of D. James Kennedy’s Center for Reclaiming America, endorsed Republican Fred Thompson for president Dec. 13. Cass currently serves as the chairman of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.

“Fred Thompson’s natural style and consistently conservative voting record will distinguish him from the others,” Cass said in a statement. “… In an increasingly dangerous world, our nation needs a proven, conservative leader who will stand strong for America and our way of life. Fred Thompson is that leader.”

POLLS, POLLS, POLLS — Republican Mike Huckabee has built a double-digit lead in Iowa, while Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are locked in a tight contest in that state leading up to the Jan. 3 caucus, according to the latest polls.

RealClearPolitics.com’s average of the last four Iowa polls has Huckabee at 34.0 percent, Mitt Romney at 23.3, Rudy Giuliani at 9.8, Thompson at 9.5 and John McCain at 5.8. Among Democrats in the polling average, Obama leads with 29.8 percent, followed by Clinton (26.3) and John Edwards (23.0)

In New Hampshire, RealClearPolitics.com’s average of the last four polls has Romney leading with 32.0 percent, trailed by McCain (18.5), Giuliani (16.5), Huckabee (11.0) and Ron Paul (7.0). On the Democratic side, Clinton is at 31.5 percent, followed by Obama (28.5) and Edwards (16.3).

Nationally, a six-poll average has Giuliani in first among Republicans with 22.7 percent, trailed by Huckabee (20.7), Romney (15.3), McCain (12.3) and Thompson (10.2). Among Democrats, Clinton leads Obama 43.8-25.3. Edwards is third at 12.2.
Michael Foust is assistant editor of Baptist Press.

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