HILLSBOROUGH, N.H. - Sen. John McCain, trying to keep momentum in this state's Republican primary race, brought in something unusual yesterday: an endorsement from the other party's former vice presidential nominee.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, Democrat Al Gore's running mate in 2000, said he had intended to wait until after the primaries to make his choice for the 2008 race. But, he said, McCain asked for his support and no Democrat did.

Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who almost always caucuses and votes with Democrats, chose his longtime colleague from Arizona because, he said, McCain had the best shot of breaking partisan gridlock in Washington.

"You may not agree with John McCain on everything - I don't," Lieberman told those gathered at an American Legion hall. "But you can always count on him to be honest with you about where he stands and to stand where he honestly thinks it's best for our country."

Independents can vote in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary Jan. 8, and they are the people McCain is targeting.

- AP

Ron Paul hauls in more big bucks

DES MOINES, Iowa - Republican candidate Ron Paul has raised more than $18 million so far in the final three months of the year, a spokesman for the Texas congressman said yesterday.

The fourth-quarter fund-raising total of $18.2 million includes $6.2 million raised Sunday alone online, said spokesman Jesse Benton.

Paul, who has libertarian views, said he would stay in the presidential race at least until Feb. 5, when two dozen states hold nominating contests.

- AP

Obama takes a dig at farm bill

SPENCER, Iowa - Powerful interests in Washington have swayed a new farm bill toward big business, Democrat Barack Obama said yesterday, campaigning in the most rural region of this early-voting state and promising to do better as president.

"The lobbyists stepped in to make sure that big agribusinesses got the multimillion-dollar giveaways that they've come to count on," he said.

The issue is crucial in rural sections of the country because the bill will set food and farm policy for five years. And Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin heads the Senate Agriculture Committee, which crafted the bill.

Obama missed the final Senate vote on the bill, but Harkin said then that Obama had assured him he would support the bill and would be in Washington if his vote were needed.

- AP