The New York Times on Sunday backed Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont in his Democratic primary challenge of Sen. Joe Lieberman, criticizing the three-term incumbent for his support of President Bush's national security policies.

The Hartford Courant and the Connecticut Post on Sunday backed Lieberman.

The Times said Lieberman's efforts "to appear above the partisan fray" have turned him into one of the administration's most useful allies.

"If Mr. Lieberman had once stood up and taken the lead in saying that there were some places a president had no right to take his country even during a time of war, neither he nor this page would be where we are today," the Times wrote. "But by suggesting that there is no principled space for that kind of opposition, he has forfeited his role as a conscience of his party, and has forfeited our support."

Lamont has reversed his standing, with the most recent Quinnipiac Poll this month showing him with a slight lead over Lieberman, 51 to 47 percent among likely voters in the Aug. 8 primary. The survey's sampling error margin is plus or minus 4 percentage points. Lieberman polled 55 to 40 percent in June.

The Courant wrote that it does not usually endorse candidates in primaries, but did so now because the race has drawn national attention and is a "defining moment" in the debate about the war on terrorism.

"Mr. Lieberman's history of enthusiasm for military interventions overseas is an anomaly in a man famous for mediating among warring factions in Washington," The Courant wrote. "But to dismiss this moderate — a vanishing breed in a Congress sundered by extremism on both sides — for dissenting on a single issue would be a terrible waste. And a mistake."

The Connecticut Post called him "a proven leader."

"There have been many times when we've disagreed with the senator, but his overall record is commendable and the record of a fighter who has been there for Connecticut in the areas of defense contracts, the environment, education, health care, civil rights and transportation," the Post wrote.