By Eric Kleefeld - October 26, 2008, 1:21PM
An interesting pattern now seems to be coming from Joe Lieberman: He is now reminding us all how much he respects Barack Obama, even if he's for John McCain this time around.
In a conference call with Connecticut reporters on Friday, Lieberman bristled at the media's coverage of the McCain campaign's negativity. "You guys are going down a road, you have contributed to the demeaning of our politics by this kind of focus," Lieberman said. "I mean, give me a break. Have any of you been out listening to me?"
"When I go out, I say, 'I have a lot of respect for Sen. Obama. He's bright. He's eloquent.' Someday, I might even support him for president," Lieberman told a conference call of Connecticut reporters. "But now in the midst of this series of crises, John McCain is simply so much better prepared that that's who I am proud to support."
Lieberman also said that if McCain doesn't, "I'm going to do everything I can to be bringing people ... together across party lines to support the new president so he can succeed."
This seems like a serious change of pace, to say the least, for Lieberman to be talking about how much he likes Obama and how he could potentially support him for president down the road. Indeed, it invites questions about what might have prompted Lieberman's change of tone.
For context, it's worth looking at some other things Joe has said this campaign season:
• In an interview with the right-wing site NewsMax a little over two weeks ago, Lieberman endorsed GOP attacks against Obama over Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright: "And one of the things you want to know is who have they associated with, because it may help you know who they'll listen to when they get into office."
• In the same interview, he left the door open on switching parties: "Well, I've thought about it. But this term is about over, so i'll take up this question again."
• During his speech at the Republican Convention, Lieberman repeated the smear that Obama "was voting to cut off funding for our troops on the ground."
• While campaigning for McCain back in August, Lieberman said that Obama does not "put the country first."
So the big question here, really, is what happened in the last few weeks that turned Obama from someone who doesn't put the country first, might listen to anti-American characters when he's in office, and wants to cut off resources for American troops, into someone who Lieberman respects and could support for president down the road?