Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) rallied in Ann Arbor yesterday to support Sen. John McCain’s bid for the presidency.

The event was held in the atrium of the McKinley Towne Centre in Ann Arbor and featured speeches followed by a town hall-style question-and-answer session.

About 100 people sporting McCain stickers, only a handful of whom were University students, turned out to show their support.

In his speech, Lieberman didn’t shy away from addressing the importance of the Michigan primary for McCain’s prospects of becoming president.

“This primary, in Michigan, is so critically important,” Lieberman said. “I honestly believe that if John McCain wins it here, he’s going to win it everywhere, and be the next president of the United States.”

LSA junior Justin Zatkoff, who delivered a speech before Lieberman and is the co-chair of Midwest Students for McCain, said in an interview after the event that students should support McCain because he will be able to create jobs in the state of Michigan.

“I encourage every Michigan student to think about one thing: Do they want a job in Michigan when they graduate from college?” he said. “When I go cast a ballot for John McCain tomorrow, it’s not just because of him getting elected as president. It’s because I want a job here in Michigan.”

Lieberman said McCain was the best candidate to boost the state’s struggling economy.

“The auto industry, no pun intended, really is and has been the engine that drives the American economy,” he said. “With John McCain, that engine is not going to slow, it’s going to speed up.”

The latest Reuters poll shows McCain holding a three-point lead over Romney in Michigan.

McCain supporters in attendance were excited about the senator’s potential to win votes not just from Republicans, but also Democrats and independents voting in today’s open primary.

Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential candidate in 2000, pointed to McCain’s bipartisan approach to politics as the reason he endorsed a presidential candidate outside the Democratic party.

“If you ask the question, ‘what’s a Democrat like me doing in Michigan campaigning for a Republican like McCain?,’ The answer is simple,” Lieberman said. “No other candidate in either of the political parties is ready to become the president that John McCain is.”

Zack Zucker, an LSA junior who attended the rally, said he’s not sure if he’ll vote for McCain in Michigan’s primary, but thought students should consider him because of his ability to find common ground between an otherwise divisive political system.

“John McCain really is a ‘uniter,'” Zucker said. “He is one of the few candidates that is willing to work across the aisle to get things done in Washington.”

Andrew Boyd, an LSA junior and the executive director of the Michigan Federation of College Republicans, said he supported McCain because of his strong values.

“All the other candidates, compared to McCain, lack experience, they lack honesty and they lack integrity,” he said. “A lot of it comes down to personal character.”

McCain campaign staffers hinted before the event that Lieberman’s speech would center on environmental policy, but it focused more heavily on McCain’s national security credentials and effectiveness as a leader.

“Our friends will respect and trust John McCain. And our enemies of the world will fear him. And that’s the type of president America needs today,” Lieberman said.

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