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Joe Lieberman's Courage

11:28 AM, Sep 3, 2008 • By GARY ANDRES
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St. Paul
It was the most poignant moment of the convention so far. At exactly 9:55 pm CST last night, Senator Joe Lieberman stood before thousands of Republicans and requested their indulgence. Speaking directly into the cameras, he asked independents and open-minded Democrats watching the convention on television to listen. He implored them to vote for John McCain and put America's interests ahead of their partisan preferences.

As the networks broke to local news coverage at 10:00 pm CST, they left with the image of delegates chanting "country first, country first."

Standing on the convention floor, I turned to a 30-year veteran of Washington political wars who just shook his head and said, "Joe Lieberman's toast." "Why?" I asked. "He has to go back to Washington and face a bunch of Democratic senators and work with them for the rest of the year - and beyond. Next year, there will be even more Democrats in the Senate. And he will be even more reviled by the left and liberal bloggers. He didn't have to come here. He could have just said nice things about his friend John McCain. But he came to this convention, went on national TV and told people the way to put America first was to vote for John McCain. That took guts. He'll pay a price. And it's something I will never forget."

So true. Joe Lieberman is a man of integrity and John McCain's friend. But the implications of what he did last night will cause him lasting political consequences. He is a man of courage. He puts country first.