Sen. Joe Lieberman, who earned the ire of Democrats in the last presidential election by endorsing John McCain, said he hasn't yet decided who he'll support in 2012 -- though he thinks Republican Rick Perry is making "some very good first impressions."
Lieberman, the Connecticut independent who is not seeking reelection next year, told Fox News it's "too early to say" whether he'd pull a repeat of 2008 and snub President Obama. An independent as of the 2006 race, Lieberman is generally aligned with Democrats on social issues and with Republicans on military and national security matters. He straddles the aisle on financial legislation.
"I'm going to approach this 2012 election as the independent that I am and therefore I don't know who I'm going to support at this point," Lieberman said Wednesday.
He suggested one of his tests will be to gauge whether the candidates believe, as he does, that America should "remain strong and involved" around the world. "In both parties there are groups that would try to pull us back," he said.
But he praised Perry, the Texas governor who officially jumped in the race for the GOP nomination Saturday, for "his willingness to not be coy about America's role as a world leader."
Perry has had a rocky entrance into the race. In the course of a few speeches and interviews since Saturday, he seemed to criticize Obama for not serving in the military, declined to answer a question on whether the president loves America and suggested Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's policies could be "treasonous."
While the White House tut-tutted him, Lieberman said he watched Perry's launch and was impressed.
"First impressions are important. He's made, to me, some very good first impressions," Lieberman said, adding: "It's the beginning of a long trail, and we'll see how it goes."
The senator told Fox News on Tuesday night that he wants to see who the Republicans nominate before making an endorsement decision.