Obama has a new fan -- Joe Lieberman

The Connecticut senator, a big supporter of John McCain's during the presidential campaign, says he's come around.

Published March 9, 2009 3:15PM (EDT)

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., has had something of a change of heart recently. Once, he campaigned for Republican presidential nominee John McCain against Barack Obama, then the nominee of what is nominally still Lieberman's party. (Officially, he calls himself an "Independent Democrat.") Now, he's talking up Obama.

"Bottom line: I think Barack Obama, president of the United States, is off to a very good start," Lieberman said in a recent interview with the Associated Press, which notes that the senator has also praised the new administration's national security team and that he called Obama's inaugural address "inspirational and unifying."

But -- in an interesting contrast with his old "last honest man" image -- the AP is, apparently, not sure that Lieberman's conversion hasn't come for political reasons. The wire service quotes Quinnipiac University Poll director Doug Schwartz as saying, "Do I think it is more principle or politics? It is a tough question," and the reporter on the story writes, "The Connecticut independent, who faces re-election in 2012 in a state where Obama is popular, is eager to mend fences with Democrats still fuming over his criticism of Obama during the general election campaign."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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