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REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION

McCain ally Lieberman also aids Democrats

September 04, 2008|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Democrat-turned-independent Sen. Joe Lieberman may have lined up with Republicans at their convention in Minnesota to support John McCain, but he's still writing checks to help Democratic Senate candidates.

The Connecticut senator gave $100,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee last month, a sign that he may be trying to hedge his bets this election season and hang onto his Senate committee chairmanship. Lieberman also wrote a $15,000 check to the committee in March.

Lieberman, 66, is an independent who caucuses with Senate Democrats, which provides them a 51-49 majority and control of the Senate.

The four-term senator, who was Al Gore's running mate in 2000, angered many Democrats with his strong support for the Iraq war and his longtime friend, McCain. There's plenty of speculation that if Democrats bolster their Senate majority this fall, they could seek payback by stripping Lieberman of his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairmanship, a powerful perch.

"Sen. Lieberman supports both Democrats and Republicans, and he gave to the committee as a senior member of the caucus," said Marshall Wittmann, Lieberman's spokesman.

So far, Senate Democrats have tolerated Lieberman's political straddling because he holds their political majority in his hands. But Lieberman's high-profile speech at the GOP convention and his critique of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama have intensified Democratic calls for political retribution.

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