Lieberman Could Defect To GOP Over War

Is 10 the magic number? U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., presents his new 10-point plan for Iraq to supporters at VFW Post 5095 in East Hampton, Conn., Sept. 25, 2006. In a recent poll, he leads challenger Ned Lamont by 10 percentage points.
By The Politico's Carrie Budoff.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut told the Politico on Thursday that he has no immediate plans to switch parties, but suggested Democratic opposition to funding the war in Iraq might change his mind.

Lieberman, a registered independent who caucuses with Democrats, has been among the strongest supporters of the war and President Bush's plan to send another 21,500 combat troops into Iraq to help quell the violence there.

"I have no desire to change parties," Lieberman said in a telephone interview. "If that ever happens, it is because I feel the majority of Democrats have gone in a direction that I don't feel comfortable with."

Asked whether that hasn't already happened with Iraq, Lieberman said: "We will see how that plays out in the coming months" — specifically how the party approaches the issue of continued funding for the war.

He suggested, however, that the forthcoming showdown over new funding could be a deciding factor that would lure him to the Republican Party.

"I hope we don't get to that point," Lieberman said. "That's about all I will say on it today. That would hurt."

Republicans have long targeted Lieberman to switch — a move that would give them control of the Senate. And Time magazine is set to report Friday that there is a "remote" chance Lieberman would join the GOP.

By Carrie Budoff
TM & © 2007 The Politico &, a division of Allbritton Communications Company