Former Navy Secretary, 9/11 Commission Member Endorses McCain

John McCain pocketed another endorsement Tuesday from a prominent national security figure, one day after Sept. 11 commission Co-Chairman Thomas Kean came out in favor of the GOP presidential candidate.

John Lehman, former secretary of the Navy and a Sept. 11 commission member, endorsed the Arizona senator, citing McCain's experience and decision-making.

"As John McCain has said, 'There comes a time when a president can no longer rely on briefing books and power points, when the experts and advisors have all weighed in, when the sum total of one's life becomes the foundation from which he or she makes the decisions that determine the course of history.' No other candidate has John McCain's experience or the judgment it informs to make the tough decisions required to protect our national security," Lehman said in a statement.

Lehman becomes the latest national security figure to join the entourage of diplomatic and military experts backing McCain. McCain also has received the support of former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, four former secretaries of state including Henry Kissinger and Sept. 11 commission member Slade Gorton.

Even though the list is heavy on former officials, it helps McCain pitch himself as the candidate best suited to handle matters of national security, especially in a race against frontrunner Rudy Giuliani, whose performance as mayor of New York after the Sept. 11 attacks has served as the underpinning of his campaign.

McCain, a former Navy pilot and Vietnam prisoner of war, also plans to make his seventh trip to Iraq over the Thanksgiving holiday as part of a small congressional delegation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.