Lieberman: Obama said I helped make his run possible

The Washington Post has an interview with Sen. Joseph Lieberman as he retires from Congress.

Two tidbits of particular note:

1) Lieberman said that then Sen. Barack Obama, in a private conversation in the Senate chamber, helped make possible his path-breaking presidential run. The conversation took place shortly after Lieberman delivered a speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention endorsing Sen. John McCain for president and criticizing Obama.

This is from the Post article:

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The convention speech came shortly after Obama returned to the Senate to cast a vote. The two senators exchanged words in a dark corner of the chamber, within view of reporters but out of earshot.

In an interview to mark his impending retirement, Lieberman called the conversation “private” but said, “It was serious at one point about what was going on in the campaign.”

“I congratulated him because it was clear he had clinched the nomination at that point,” Lieberman said. “And he said to me, ‘Look, thank you, but I understand that one of the reasons I have the opportunity I have now is because of what you’ve done in the past.’ I think he probably meant that I had run as the first Jewish American running for national office, so in that sense I broke a barrier, and maybe he felt that opened the doors wider for him. It was a very gracious thing for him to say.”

Another possibility that occurs to me is that Obama was referring to Lieberman’s involvement in the civil rights movement during the 1960s.

2) Lieberman says he doesn’t regret breaking with Democrats to endorse his friend McCain in the race but does regret criticizing Obama in his RNC speech.

Here’s the relevant passage:

Lieberman said he doesn’t regret supporting McCain, the senator from Arizona, but if he could do it again, “I would have left out those few sentences” in his convention speech about Obama.

“It wasn’t what I was really about,” Lieberman said. “It wasn’t necessary to what I was doing at the convention, which was to affirmatively support my friend John McCain.”

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