Lieberman shows support for McCain at Humphrey Institute

U.S. Sen. and former Vice Presidential nominee Joe Lieberman speaks during a political forum on Wednesday at the Humphrey Institute.

Marija Majerle

U.S. Sen. and former Vice Presidential nominee Joe Lieberman speaks during a political forum on Wednesday at the Humphrey Institute.

A day after speaking at the Republican National Convention, U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman told a packed house at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs why Americans should support his long-time friend, presidential candidate John McCain. Lieberman said McCainâÄôs lengthy experience with foreign affairs is one of the main reasons he should be the man for the job in November. Lieberman traveled to Iraq with McCain in 2006 and said many people donâÄôt fully understand McCainâÄôs stance on the war. âÄúVoters will see him as inclined to military options,âÄù Lieberman said. âÄúBut he has a veteranâÄôs distaste for military conflict.âÄù McCain was a prisoner of war for five years during the Vietnam War. Lieberman repeatedly talked about McCainâÄôs ability to use âÄúsoft American power.âÄù Building better schools and sparking more free trade will be top priorities in the Middle East for McCain if he is elected, Lieberman said. Offering Middle Eastern children better educations would also stop the spread of terrorist factions, Lieberman said. âÄúHow do you stop the cycle of theological and ideological hate? You get kids in better schools,âÄù Lieberman said. More free trade in the Islamic world would boost the economy in the Middle East and keep terrorist groups from popping up, he said. Fellow panelist, Ambassador Rob Portman, echoed LiebermanâÄôs sentiment. âÄúCountries that trade together donâÄôt fight,âÄù Portman said. âÄúEconomic freedom almost always translates to political freedom.âÄù Although Lieberman said America needs an exit strategy in Iraq, he was positive about the future of the war, and said ending it by 2011 is an attainable goal. âÄúIraq now is potentially a great model for the future of the Islamic world,âÄù Lieberman said. Political Science senior Ben Accola said he attended the discussion out of curiosity. He said he is still undecided for November and was impressed by LiebermanâÄôs speech. âÄúThe most intriguing thing they talked about was expanding free trade policy,âÄù Accola said. âÄúThereâÄôs more to [the election] than just free trade, but itâÄôs a primary issue.âÄù Despite being a McCain supporter, Lieberman is a self-proclaimed Democrat and was the Democratic vice presidential candidate in 2000. âÄúWhat, after all, is a Democrat like me doing at a Republican convention like this?âÄù Lieberman said in his speech at the RNC Tuesday. âÄúThe answer is simple: I’m here to support John McCain because country matters more than party.âÄù But LiebermanâÄôs support of McCain has drawn criticism from Democrats around the country. âÄúJoe Lieberman ought to be ashamed of himself for some of the things he said tonight, not as a Democrat but as an American,âÄù Democratic adviser Robert Gibbs said on Larry King Live.