Hadassah Lieberman: Not a Republican, but backing McCain

Like her husband, Hadassah Lieberman is backing John McCain. And on Monday afternoon she was the featured speaker at the Republican Jewish Coalition National Women’s Committee fund-raiser and fashion show.

But, she insisted to JTA, that doesn’t mean she’s become a Republican.

A global ambassador for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Lieberman said she came to Monday’s event at the Minneapolis Neiman Marcus because the RJC women’s committee was raising money for the organization. As it turned out, because of Hurricane Gustav, proceeds from the fund-raiser will go to the American Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund, but women’s committee chair Linda Law announced that she would match the total raised Monday for the breast cancer organization.

Lieberman told reporters after the fundraiser that she had been a registered independent until she married her husband, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and she was advised to become a Democrat. When Joe left the Democratic Party was defeated in the Democratic primary in 2006, and then won as an independent, she returned to political independence – and has no plans to change.

As for the presidential race, she said, “I love John … I hope he wins,” but said she wasn’t “officially” endorsing anyone. Asked about disagreements she might have with the presumptive Republican nominee on issues such as reproductive rights, she acknowledged that there were “differences” between some of her views and McCain’s, but reiterated that she was not a member of the Republican Party.

In her speech to the 200-person crowd at the RJC event, Lieberman did allude to the support that her husband received from Republican Jews in his 2006 Senate win. “When [Joe] decided to run as an independent, a lot of you were out there, and we did not forget that,” she said. Lieberman lost in the Democratic primary to challenger Ned Lamont, but then beat Lamont in the general election.

It seemed that Lieberman wasn’t totally familiar with the RJC – she mistakenly called the group the Republican Jewish Committee during her remarks.

Among the other luminaries in attendance Monday afternoon were Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Florida state Rep. Adam Hasner, former Mass. Lt. Gov Kerry Healey, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Texas state Sen. Florence Shapiro and NBC newswoman Norah O’Donnell (who was invited by another guest).

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