Rep. Shays: Lieberman 'Risking His Political Career'

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This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," September 2, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, CO-HOST: Well, some of Senator Lieberman's Democratic friends and a number of GOP members say that Lieberman's record represents the kind of bipartisan spirit that Washington likes to talk about but doesn't always achieve.

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Connecticut Congressman Chris Shays is a Republican first elected to Congress some 20 years ago and a man who knows Joe Lieberman well.

Good evening, congressman.

REP. CHRIS SHAYS, R-CONN.: Good evening.

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KELLY: All right. So you heard Bill Burton of the Obama campaign.

SHAYS: Can you hear me?

KELLY: Yes, I hope you can hear. I think there's a bit of a delay. I'm sorry about that.

SHAYS: I sure did. I can't wait to jump in.

KELLY: OK, yes. So you heard him saying, look, that's Lieberman for you -- your response?

SHAYS: Well, it is Joe Lieberman. Joe Lieberman is someone who, throughout his career, has put his state first, who's put his country first. He is someone who reaches out to the other side of the aisle. He's probably one of the most popular senators because he's not a partisan. He doesn't do a lot of spin. He just speaks the truth and goes where the truth takes him.

I was in the campaign in December when John was campaigning in New Hampshire and I was with Joe, and when Senator McCain came to Fairfield. And Joe took himself off the list early on. I mean, this was a possibility but the real key thing is that John McCain has who he wants, a real change agent, and he has a great friend in Joe Lieberman.

KELLY: Congressman, let me ask you this you know, this message seeing Joe Lieberman take the stand tonight and endorse John McCain and sing John McCain's praises may not go over well with some Democrats, it may not faze some Democrats at all, but what about the independents who are on the fence in this election and who will ultimately perhaps decide this thing?

SHAYS: Well, I think some Democrats politicians, the so-called "spin doctors" are apocalyptic because Joe is going where the truth takes him. And I think it should appeal to thinking Americans.

This is a guy who is risking his political career. He probably won't be the next chairman of the government affairs committee because of what he's done, but he doesn't care. He believes in John McCain through and through and is willing to throw everything to help his friend and someone he believes in.

KELLY: How unusual is this? I mean, I think, a lot of people remember Zell Miller crossing party lines. But I can't think of another one, at least not that big of a name.

SHAYS: Well, there is a big difference. Zell Miller was pretty angry. I mean, with all due respect, he was angry at his Democratic Party and he was lashing out.

You're not going to see Joe Lieberman lash out at the Democrats or lash out against Senator Barack Obama. He respects Senator Barack Obama. He would work with him if he were president.

But he loves John McCain as I do. John McCain is a modern day Teddy Roosevelt. He is someone who wants to shake things up and it's exciting to think that we might have a president who will do that and Joe Lieberman wants to work with a president who would do that.

KELLY: And it happens tonight. Congressman Chris Shays, thanks so much for being here with your insights on it.

SHAYS: Thank you.

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