The Washington Times - July 21, 2008, 04:59PM

Joe Lieberman speaks at a banquet dinner tomorrow with pastor John Hagee — yes, that Hagee, the man who caused John McCain such a headache earlier this year and forced McCain to reject his endorsement.

But is Lieberman, who has repeatedly served as a top surrogate for McCain’s campaign, speaking tomorrow for McCain, who unceremoniously dumped Hagee? (Here’s Hagee’s response at the time to the controversy.)

Lieberman and Hagee will both be part of the “A Night To Honor Israel Banquet,” part of Hagee’s Christians United For Israel 2008 conference, which runs today through Thursday at the Washington Convention Center. It’s clearly a long-standing issue for both men, and precedes McCain’s current political interests.

But Lieberman, a former Democrat and now an independent, has been on near-constant surrogate mode for McCain, standing in for the Republican at town halls in South Florida and appearing on Sunday talk shows as a spokesman for the campaign.

The McCain campaign didn’t immediately return a call on Lieberman’s role, but Lieberman’s Senate office says this is not a surrogate event. And of course Lieberman is a politician who must take stances on his own.

Still, when some-time surrogates meet former surrogates in the heat of campaign season, it’s bound to raise questions. And Lieberman is no ordinary surrogate — he’s McCain’s top example of bipartisanship, as well as being the head of Citizens for McCain and co-chairman of McCain’s Connecticut campaign.

And what happens if Lieberman mentions McCain during the dinner? The dinner is one of a few events at the convention open to press, so we will see what he does


Stephen Dinan, national political correspondent, The Washington Times