Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday that President Obama should consider Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) for his next secretary of defense.

Lieberman announced his retirement Wednesday after four terms in the Senate, and McCain, one of his closest friends in politics, said Lieberman should play a major role when it comes to national security. Robert Gates, the current defense secretary, has said he wants to leave his post by the end of the year.


"You know its funny you mention it," McCain told CNN when asked about the possibility of Lieberman replacing Gates. "I really hope that the president would consider him. I hadn't thought about it but I sure hope, whatever happens, he will play a major role on national security issues."

It would be a surprising move for Obama to name Lieberman to a top Cabinet post considering his past tussles with the president and the Democratic Party. 

The Connecticut senator was the Democrats' nominee for vice president in 2000 but lost his 2006 Democratic primary to wealthy anti-war activist and cable executive Ned Lamont. Lieberman won reelection as an Independent candidate and endorsed McCain for president in 2008, and was even on his list of potential vice presidential nominees.

Lieberman angered Democrats and liberals over his support for the Iraq War during and after the Bush administration.

But McCain said that Obama could be open to Lieberman considering he has reached out to people with opposing views. Obama picked Gates to serve in his administration even though he is a Republican and held the same position under former President George W. Bush.

"I know one thing, that the president has reached out to people that otherwise, maybe a couple of years ago, he wouldn't have given serious consideration," McCain said, "but I can't divine the views of the president."