Lieberman says it's 'too early to say' if he'll back Obama in 2012

It's too early to say whether President Obama deserves reelection, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Thursday.

Lieberman, who announced his retirement on Wednesday, said it's "conceivable" he could endorse a Republican presidential candidate in 2012, though he expressed admiration for some of the Democratic president's initiatives.

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"It's too early to say," Lieberman told the conservative magazine Newsmax in a video interview. "The reason I say it's too early to make a decision is because it's only halfway through the Obama administration, and we don't know who the Republicans will put up. So I'll watch it with real interest."

Lieberman endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) over Obama in the 2008 presidential election, a move which angered many congressional Democrats, with whom the independent Lieberman caucuses. A former Democrat, Lieberman ran as an independent in 2006 after losing the Democratic primary.

He's made more strides to warm up to the Democratic establishment, though, including shepherding the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell" through the Senate in December. There's also some chatter about whether Obama might name Lieberman to succeed Robert Gates as secretary of Defense.

"President Obama has done some things, particularly in foreign policy, that I think have been very solid, and really in the bipartisan mainstream of the American foreign policy tradition," Lieberman said in praise of the president. "And that's something to the good. I haven't agreed with everything that he's done, but I think he's building a decent record."

Lieberman said it's "conceivable" he could endorse a Republican, but said he "wouldn't want to overstate that," either.