Family Values Joe Knows The Value Of Family
GOP-lite Joe Lieberman candidate has his share of troubles attracting support, and it's little wonder that some of the support he is gathering would raise eyebrows. For example, no other candidate has a sportscaster predicting a nomination victory.
Like some of the other candidates, his campaign is the target of dirty tricks. His ability to gather support from independents is under assault in New Hampshire, a state where he really needs independent support to have a chance of winning.
But it's not all bad. Joe Lieberman is using one strategem that the other candidates could learn from - he's tapped his entire family to cover a lot of ground in a short time. His wife, son, daughter, even his 89-year-old mother, are all out stumping for him in various places, freeing him up to cover somewhere else, often an old folks' home.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman dropped in on Oklahoma and Arizona, two of the seven states that won't hold primaries until Feb. 3. Lieberman is betting on winning or coming close in several of those Feb. 3 states, which have more conservative political cultures than Iowa or New Hampshire. He and retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark are skipping Iowa entirely. Oklahomans have voted for Republicans for president since 1968, and Lieberman, the most conservative of the Democratic candidates, hopes his ideas connect there. "This tends to be a more moderate state politically," Lieberman said. "That's who I am, an independent-minded Democrat."
Lieberman's visit to Tulsa came during a whirlwind blitz through three states in 24 hours. At 62, Lieberman is the oldest candidate in the race, but he seemed energized. He started with a nine-candidate debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday night, then a charter flight shuttled him to Tulsa, where he reached his hotel at midnight. He awoke before dawn and exercised on a treadmill, a routine he follows most days. "The busier I am, the more important I feel it is to exercise," Lieberman said.
Next came his stump speech to supporters, followed by an intimate roundtable discussion with three Oklahoma families, then a charter flight to Tucson, Ariz. Lieberman napped on the plane. He gave a speech to Democrats in Tucson, toured a children's hospital in Phoenix and visited a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Scottsdale. He capped off the long day with an overnight flight to New Hampshire.
Many Oklahomans say their image of Lieberman was formed during his vice presidential bid in 2000. "I think he comes off a heck of a lot better in person and on the stump than on TV," said Ken Neal, the editorial page editor of the Tulsa World.
Angelia Daniels is a single mother of two young children. She struggles to pay for child care, and she's concerned about high taxes and health insurance. On Monday, Daniels watched Lieberman during a brief appearance at a Tulsa hotel. "I was kind of undecided, but he is going to be it now," Daniels said. "I'm a single mother. It's hard. If he is able to cut taxes, maybe it would put a little more money in my pocket."
Lieberman's campaign is struggling, polls indicate. "I was impressed by Lieberman, but I'm planning to vote for (Howard) Dean," said Peter Ryers at Tucson's Rose Garden Restaurant.
Lieberman emphasized national security. "My record shows that I'm as tough as they come," he said. "What's on the line here is the future of the greatest country in the world. I'm running for president to keep the American dream alive."
It wasn't enough for some. Jack Fitzgerald of Tucson questioned Lieberman about Saddam Hussein and the war in Iraq, and he wasn't convinced by his answers. "I like Lieberman," Fitzgerald said. "He's one of the nicest guys I know. But nice guys come in dead last. Our party needs to get tough."
Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman swept through Arizona on Monday, making stops in Scottsdale, Tucson and Phoenix. Arizona's Feb. 3 primary is close to a must-win for Lieberman presidential bid. Lieberman hopes his centrist policy stances will appeal to Arizona's moderate voters.
Another Democratic presidential hopeful, Wesley Clark, was also scheduled to be in Southern Arizona on Monday. However, Clark decided to stay in New Hampshire where he has made gains in recent weeks. Instead, Clark's wife Gert appeared at an event in Green Valley.
Lieberman, Clark and former Vermont governor Howard Dean have dedicated the most effort to winning Arizona's early tilt.
Joe: He's the Real Thing?
Wesley Clark and Joe Lieberman have balmy South Carolina pretty much to themselves these days, as the other Democratic presidential candidates trudge around frozen Iowa. Clark and Liebermanís decisions to bypass stumping for Mondayís Iowa caucuses frees them up to concentrate on the Jan. 27 New Hampshire primary and the Feb. 3 contest here. No other candidate is expected in the state until after Mondayís quadrennial rite of winter.
Thatís not to say the other campaigns have packed up and fled north, but the campaigns of Dick Gephardt, Howard Dean and John Edwards are relying on surrogates to get their message across.
But stand-ins are not the same, said Stacie Paxton, S.C. spokeswoman for the Lieberman campaign. "Weíre giving the real thing," she said. "Itís a great opportunity for Lieberman to bring his message straight to the people." Lieberman is viewed as the centrist in the field, Ransom said, and South Carolinaís Democratic electorate is viewed as being more responsive to his moderate views.
The real thing counts, said College of Charleston political scientist Bill Moore. "Face-to-face meetings with groups provide you with a type of contact that can provide an impact the way a (TV) commercial cannot," Moore said. And surrogates only help if they have the cache to matter, Moore said. "Iím not sure Jim Hunt will have that much impact on South Carolina," he said. "A Harvey Gantt might, an Andrew Young (who campaigned here for Clark on Tuesday) might. A Jim Clyburn certainly does."
Avoiding Iowa made sense for both Lieberman and Clark, said Bruce Ransom, a political scientist at Clemson University. Both can bypass Iowa, Ransom said, "and move to South Carolina with the assumption they can make some hay, and make some noise and demonstrate some successes here." The strategy might be working more for Clark than for Lieberman. Clark is a Southerner and a veteran, both of which will help him in South Carolina. Recent polls show Clark at or near the front of the pack, while Lieberman usually falls into the middle.
The Missus Works Delaware
In Delaware, Republicans control the House of Representatives and Democrats control the Senate. But Hadassah Lieberman got an official welcome on the House floor Tuesday and later visited the Senate Democratic caucus' closed-door meeting. It was the third campaign swing to Delaware for the wife of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. She also made campaign stops at schools in Wilmington and Dover. Lieberman and his family have logged more time than any other Democratic contender here in a bid to win the Feb. 3 primary. "We are getting a very good feeling in Delaware," Lieberman said. "We think our message is resonating and that the First State will give us our first win." Lieberman said she was honored to be recognized on the House. "Being introduced and recognized in the House, gave me a very special feeling," she said. "I also had a very good discussion with the Democrats in the Senate."
The Son, The Granddaughter, and The Mother Stump for Joe
Connecticut comptroller Nancy Wyman and Matthew Lieberman, Sen. Lieberman's son, are campaigning together throughout New Hampshire for the presidential hopeful with less than two weeks remaining before Jan. 27's primary. Matt Lieberman's daughter, Willie, 4, was alongside him throughout his day of campaigning.
Matthew called his father the "perfect [candidate] for the Democratic Party on the issues." A 36-year-old private school teacher who like his father graduated from Yale University, he said his father has a "great" chance in New Hampshire. When not in public view, Wyman, Matthew Lieberman and the greater Lieberman campaign are focused on the remaining days in New Hampshire and the battles that lie ahead in other states. Right now, "Our goal is to do surprisingly well in New Hampshire -- better than people expect," Matthew Lieberman said. With many undecided voters in the political picture, the New Hampshire primary is less certain than some would admit -- including the Lieberman campaign. So much so that, when asked whether there's a possibility his father could become president, Matthew Lieberman responded, "Absolutely."
The campaign is notable for the role Lieberman's family plays, something that crowd encourage some undecided voters to cast a vote in his favor come election time. Lieberman's 89-year-old mother also campaigns actively for her son. Lieberman himself referred to his granddaughter frequently in his speech at Hanover's Kendall Senior Center.
At the Senior Center, where the candidate himself met with residents, he emphasized the importance of the approaching primary. "This election's too important," Lieberman said. "We can't afford another four years like this." Lieberman stressed that this primary "should be taken seriously." His points were clear and concise: "I'm running for President because I believe I can do it better than the man who is there."
Amongst other conversation, Lieberman spoke of his concerns with the current world order, specifically foreign distrust of the United States as the result of the Bush administration's diplomatic policy. The Orthodox Jew also made mention of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and, referring to the situation said, "My foremost criticism of this administration: They're disengaged."
Wyman, who is endorsing Lieberman, said she is well aware that a sizeable portion of the New Hampshire electorate has not made up its mind on a Democratic contender. As such, she is dedicating herself to what could be a crucial turning point in the final days before the primary.
When asked whether Lieberman could face off with President Bush as the Democratic nominee, Wyman responded, "The one person George Bush is worried about is Joe Lieberman. Joe's smarter, more articulate, and has better ideas." She defines his leadership style as being powerful enough to "bring sides together that haven't been together for years."
The Daughter Does Oklahoma
Rebecca Lieberman, daughter of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman, met with supporters Monday at the Creative Living Center at Ardmore Village. Lieberman is on a four-day state tour on behalf of her father. "Oklahoma is a critical state for our campaign, and I'm thrilled to help my dad spread his campaign message throughout the state," she said.
Lieberman said her father has the ability to unite people and come up with solutions to our nation's challenges. "He is a man of faith, of family and of public service," she said. "He is the one who really has the ability to beat George W. Bush."
New Hamphire Independents For Joe
Around 275 registered Independent voters in New Hampshire endorsed presidential contender Joe Lieberman on Sunday, including a former New Hampshire Attorney General. Gregory Smith co-chairs a committee of Independents who want to elect the Connecticut senator. "I have chosen to select candidates based on their character and experience," said Smith, an attorney who represents USA Springs, a company that wants to build a water bottling plant in Nottingham. "This is a man who has an extraordinary record of distinction." Also leading the committee is Leonard Arkerson, who headed the campaign in Strafford County to elect John McCain, the Arizona senator, in 2000.
Independents make up a tantalizing 38 percent of registered voters in New Hampshire, and every Democratic hopeful wants them in 2004. Lieberman said the endorsements gave his campaign a "hell of a charge."
"The Independents are going to play a very important, even decisive role in this primary," Lieberman said. "We're going to combine Democrats and Independents and do what's we've been saying all along. Surprise the pundits and get off to a great start in New Hampshire." With the New Hampshire primary just two weeks away, this endorsement, in addition to 129 McCain supporters, is part of the "rising tide of support" Lieberman said will carry him to the general election. That tide had not risen above 7 percent in recent New Hampshire polls, but Lieberman is hoping to replicate McCain's performance in the New Hampshire primary, using some of the same voters who sent him to his stunning victory four years ago.
Lieberman said that the endorsements are proof that he made the right decision to skip campaigning in the Iowa caucus. "I have never looked back at my decision not to compete in Iowa. It was based on resources and time and this is the first-in-the-nation primary. The Democratic nomination is not a sprint, it's a marathon," he said.
Dick Tuck, Call Your New Hampshire Office
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Lieberman said he hopes New Hampshire finds out who has been calling undeclared voters to tell them they cannot vote in the presidential primary. Lieberman said he was outraged and hopes the attorney general's investigation will catch the culprits and force them to pay the costs of calling all undeclared voters and telling them they can indeed vote in the Jan. 27 primary. "I don't know who's doing this, but it has to stop - that amounts to voter suppression, voter intimidation." Lieberman said. "I went through this in Florida in 2000 and nobody wants New Hampshire to become the Florida of 2004."
Independents are an important voting block in the primary and to Lieberman's campaign. He recently received an endorsement from 280 independent voters, in addition to 180 people who supported Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona in 2000. Independents can vote either as Republicans or Democrats, and revert to independent status on their way out of the polling place.
While most of his rivals are campaigning hard in Iowa during the short time left before the Jan. 19 caucus, which Lieberman is skipping, Lieberman used the extra-breathing room to look for votes in the North Country. Julie St. Germain, who was having breakfast with her 20-year-old mentally disabled daughter in a Berlin cafe, told Lieberman he was the only Democrat from whom she would vote. "(Lieberman) doesn't keep all the ten-dollar words in his pocket. He talked to me like a parent."
The Connecticut senator was in the North Country for his "Clinton Legacy" tour, his attempt to align himself with the former president as a fellow New Democrat who will fight for the same economic policies to elevate the middle class. Lieberman, who was reminding voters that Clinton dubbed himself the Comeback Kid after scoring a second-place finish in the New Hampshire primary, said he feels rising support from Democrats and independents in New Hampshire.
Lieberman said he believes he is running a positive campaign, and called his negative comments about Clark and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean disagreements.
And a new television ad from rival Dick Gephardt caught Lieberman's eye when working out on a treadmill at a Gorham hotel Wednesday morning. Gephardt's ad says the Missouri congressman helped pass Clinton's economic plan in 1993 that led to millions of new jobs and led the opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement and the China trade deal. The ad then names Dean, John Kerry, Clark and Lieberman as NAFTA supporters. "I'm not critical of Gephardt for putting on an ad," Lieberman said. "The question is whether the ad is fair. It said Dick Gephardt is against slave and child labor, while so am I."
As if Joe doesn't have enough trouble already, he has sportscasters playing prognosticating political pundit!
Sen. Joseph I. Liebermanís presidential bid has been picked to win by one of the nationís best-known, if politically unaccredited, prognosticators: ESPNís Chris Berman. Berman, a Cheshire resident who has been with the Bristol-based sports network since just after its inception in 1979, delivered his endorsement in character. "The Swami says Joe Lieberman could go all the way. Just like the Patriots," Berman said, cozying up to New Hampshire voters who cast ballots in the stateís pivotal primary on Jan. 27. Berman said he has voted for the Connecticut Democrat in each of his bids for the office of state attorney general and the U.S. Senate, and is proud of supporting Lieberman now.
Recent polls show Lieberman pulling close to U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., for third place among likely New Hampshire primary voters, although retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark is advancing as well, in second place behind the current favorite, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. A poll conducted Monday and Tuesday by Bostonís WHDH-TV and Suffolk University showed Dean leading in New Hampshire at 32 percent, Clark at 17 percent, and Kerry and Lieberman in a statistical dead heat at 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively. The poll had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.9 percentage points.
Liebermanís campaign has become the first to hit the airwaves in the Feb. 3 primary state of Delaware. The campaign is running an ad touting Liebermanís proposed middle-class tax cuts on two television stations based in Salisbury, Md. A new radio ad features former governor and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., who has endorsed Lieberman.
Liebermanís campaign hinges on New Hampshire and Feb. 3 contests in Arizona, Oklahoma and South Carolina, but he made a point of spending time and resources in Delaware, where modest investments have historically paid big dividends on primary day. Of the nine Democrats running for president, only Lieberman and the Rev. Al Sharpton have campaigned personally in Delaware.
The Socialists aren't too impressed with Joe.
ELIZABETH SCHULTE looks at the records of the nine candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination.
"In my party, I am the only one on stage who has taken on Hollywood, the entertainment industry, for peddling sex and violence to our kids."
--Democratic debate in Columbia, S.C., May 3, 2003
ONE LOOK at Connecticut Sen. Joe Liebermanís record would lead you to ask: If he becomes the Democratic nominee, why not just vote for Bush? Lieberman has long favored "regime change" in Iraq--even before Bush Jr. turned his attention to it. He voted in favor of Bush Sr.ís first Gulf War in 1991, and he cosponsored the Iraq "Liberation" Act of 1998 that made "regime change" the goal of U.S. policy. He also supports the insane "Star Wars" missile defense system, along with plenty of spending for the Pentagon. Lieberman also stands toe to toe with Republicans on the issue of "family values." With his former running mateís wife, Tipper Gore, Lieberman led a crusade to rid Hollywood of sex and violence, and put religion at the center of American society. He rushed to condemn Bill Clintonís "immoral" behavior with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
But he agreed with his fellow DLCer on a pro-business approach to social issues. On the issue of abortion, Lieberman has voted for parental consent laws and a ban on the late term procedure that abortion opponents call "partial birth."
He flip-flopped on his stance on affirmative action--claiming in 1995 that affirmative action was "dividing" America. Lieberman was an enthusiastic backer of Clintonís 1996 welfare "reform" law, which cut millions of poor women and children off the welfare rolls.
While he supports same-sex unions, he opposes gay marriage, and in 1996, he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. "Marriage has a special status in our culture, our heritage, our history," Lieberman said recently.
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