DERRY, New Hampshire (Reuters) - Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat turned independent, ruled out a bipartisan White House bid on Wednesday, saying he has no ambition to be vice president if John McCain, whom he has endorsed, wins the Republican candidacy.
Lieberman, who shares McCain’s support for the Iraq war, was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000. He won re-election to the Senate from Connecticut as an independent in 2006 after he lost a Democratic primary to anti-war candidate Ned Lamont.
He endorsed the bid by McCain, an Arizona senator, for the White House last month and joined him on the campaign trail in New Hampshire on Wednesday, eating lunch and meeting voters with him at a diner in the town of Derry.
Speaking to reporters in a snowy parking lot outside the diner, McCain, who calls Lieberman “my favorite Democrat,” praised Lieberman’s “credibility and wisdom.” Lieberman said McCain was too modest to sing his own praises.
“Folks are coming back and saying America, our families, have a lot at stake in this election. Who has the strength, the experience the character to keep us safe and unite the country to solve some of our problems? And that is John McCain,” Lieberman said.
Asked if his support for McCain would extend to joining his ticket if he is chosen as the Republican candidate, Lieberman told Reuters he was quite happy just being a senator.
Asked if his running as vice president was out of the question, he said: “Oh yeah. I got that bug out of my system.”
McCain, whose poll figures have been rising in New Hampshire, flew to Iowa on Wednesday to win last-minute votes there before it kicks off the nominating process on Thursday with the first caucus.
New Hampshire holds the first primary on January 8.
Reporting by Claudia Parsons; Editing by Cynthia Osterman