The Washington Times - September 2, 2008, 11:33PM

ST. PAUL, MN | Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the former Democrat from Connecticut, tonight followed Fred Thompson’s stemwinder with a speech softer in tone that nonetheless went hard after Barack Obama.

“Barack Obama is a talented and eloquent young man,” Mr. Lieberman, now an independent, said of the Democratic presidential nominee.

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But Mr. Lieberman told the crowd of Republicans that “eloquence is no substitute for a record.”

Mr. Lieberman also said that Mr. Obama “has not reached across party lines to accomplish anything significant,” and also said the Democrat has not taken on any powerful interest groups.

Mr. Lieberman then spoke directly to Democrats watching on TV, telling them to vote for the Republican candidate even if they had “never voted for a Republican before.”

He called Mr. McCain “a restless reformer who will clean up Washington and get government working again for all of the American people.”

“Vote for the person you think is best for our country, not for the party you happen to belong to,” Mr. Lieberman said.

Democrats have spoken of stripping Mr. Lieberman of his chairmanship on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, but the fear is that he will make the full switch to the Republican party.

It will be interesting to see how angry Democrats are over Mr. Lieberman’s speech.

Howard Wolfson, Hillary Clinton’s former communications director, told Fox News afterward that he was “afraid something like this was going to happen if he were reelected.”

Mr. Wolfson also said that “Clinton Democrats are still in play, and the McCain campaign is going hard after that group.”