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McCain, Lieberman: More U.S.-Euro cooperation

Sen. Joe Lieberman, left, and Sen. John McCain.

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• The Candidates: Bush | Kerry
John McCain
Joe Lieberman

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two former presidential candidates Sunday urged closer cooperation between Europe and the United States in the war on terrorism, and more civility between the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates' camps.

One of them, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, flatly denied that he would jump to the Democratic party to run as Sen. John Kerry's running mate.

Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," McCain and Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, were largely in agreement on the issues.

"Leadership on the American side and the European side can bring us closer," Lieberman said. Terrorists "hate us all equally."

Lieberman, a failed candidate for the Democrats' 2004 presidential nomination, said part of U.S.-Europe tensions stems from "acts of one-sided diplomacy on the part of the Bush administration."

McCain, who lost the 2000 Republican nomination to eventual winner George W. Bush, said support for the war by Spain's ruling Popular Party wasn't the sole reason for its electoral defeat last week, three days after terrorist attacks in Madrid killed more than 200 people and wounded hundreds more.

"Part of the reason for the election results is because the government tried to blame this tragedy on the Basque separatists, and the voters felt they were misled," he said.

But the attacks will likely make Europe "more inclined to work with us because those attacks showed that no one is safe."

Lieberman took a phrase from President Bush when he said that "some" in Spain are seeking "a separate peace with al Qaeda," arguing that such a tactic would fail.

"There are some in Europe who are allowing their anger at the Bush foreign policy to blind themselves to the fact that we are all citizens of Madrid," he said.

McCain suggested opening a dialogue with European leaders "on a variety of issues that Europe cares about," emphasizing, however, that opening a dialogue does not necessarily mean agreeing with their demands.

"We should appreciate their concerns, their anger," he said. "I believe over time that Europe will realize that an attack on one is an attack on all."

"Can we do a better job? Yes. Every administration can do a better job," he said. "This is a time for strong diplomacy."

On the election front, both senators called for civility between the Bush camp and the camp of presumptive challenger Kerry so that voters don't become "discouraged."

"Remember that we're all Americans," Lieberman said. "We have a higher interest than our partisan interests -- the national interests."

"Let's spend more time talking in this campaign about how we're going to win the war on terrorism and how we're going to succeed in Iraq," he said.

Lieberman acknowledged that the candidates' votes are relevant to voters, but added, "If you look beyond the rhetoric and the media attempts to find differences, both of them obviously want to find a way to win the war on terrorism and both of them want to succeed in Iraq."

McCain defended his backing of Kerry last week, when the Bush campaign tried to portray the senator from Massachusetts as weak on defense.

"I am campaigning for President Bush's re-election, and I will continue to do so," he said. "John Kerry is a friend of mine. I don't choose to attack or disparage him, and I will not. That to me is important."

"I know that having a friend in Washington from another party is not acceptable to some in Washington," he said. "I have two words to them: too bad."

Despite their friendship, however, McCain said media speculation that he could become Kerry's vice presidential pick were off the mark.

"I am not a candidate for vice president in 2004 and I will not leave the Republican party. End of story," he said.

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