Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) offered a rare defense of Barack Obama on Sunday -- and an even rarer rebuke of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- after the Arizona Republican accused the president of "leading an extreme left-wing crusade to bankrupt America."
In what was a reversal of the role he played during the presidential campaign -- when he stumped on McCain's behalf and spoke at the Republican convention -- Lieberman said he disagreed with the anti-Obama radio ads McCain is running in his home state.
"You know every now and then John McCain and I disagree sometimes, and that's one of the cases," Lieberman said on CNN's "State of the Union." "So I don't agree with that. I think the president understands the importance of bringing our government back into balance. Look he came in, in a most difficult economic time, inheriting a national debt that had doubled in the preceding eight years. I think you are going to hear from the president in the State of a Union, maybe earlier, about some tough medicine for our economy. We need it and I hope that there will be bipartisan support in Congress for doing that."
Caught in an increasingly tense primary battle for his Senate seat, McCain released two new radio ads last week in which he touted himself as "Arizona's last line of defense" against the Obama agenda. The first spot read as follows:
NARRATOR: He's lived through a battle or two, vanquished many a foe. But perhaps but no battle in our lifetime is more vital than the one John McCain fights now. A battle to save America, save our jobs. John McCain leads the charge to slash government spending, bloated bureaucracies, and ridiculously unaffordable ideas like government run health care.
MCCAIN: President Obama is leading an extreme left wing crusade to bankrupt America. I stand in his way every day. If I get a bruise or two knocking some sense into head in Washington, so be it. I'll keep fighting for jobs and economic growth for Arizona as long as I'm in the Senate.
NARRATOR: John McCain is Arizona's last line of defense. Character matters.