(Host) Democratic presidential candidate Joe Lieberman says former vice president Al Gore’s endorsement of Howard Dean earlier this week will help Lieberman emerge as the alternative to Dean.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.
(Kinzel) Lieberman told a group of regional reporters that this has been “an incredible week that has transformed the Democratic presidential campaign.” Lieberman admits that he was very disappointed that Gore, who selected Lieberman to be his running mate in 2000, didn’t bother to even call Lieberman to tell him of Gore’s plans to endorse Howard Dean. Lieberman learned of the endorsement from reporters.
Lieberman says the endorsement has “clarified” the Democratic race because it leaves Lieberman as the one moderate candidate that traditional Democratic voters can support. Lieberman has backed the war in Iraq and doesn’t want to rescind the president’s tax cut on middle income taxpayers.
Lieberman says the Gore endorsement shows that Dean wants to move the party to the left and away from the more centrist policies of former president Bill Clinton that have been so successful for the Democrats:
(Lieberman) “The reason I focused on Howard is that he’s become the front runner. And I believe that if you put the package together the clearest differences in terms of the direction in which we would take our party are between Howard Dean and Joe Lieberman. And that is the choice that I think voters have in New Hampshire and in the primaries to follow. It’s an important choice because it really goes to whether we can win the election.”
(Kinzel) Lieberman says he’ll emerge as the alternative to Dean by doing well in New Hampshire. He thinks he’ll attract a lot of John McCain independent voters in that state. Lieberman then plans to win the primary election in South Carolina which takes place a week after New Hampshire:
(Lieberman) “The field’s going to be thinned after that, I think. We all had to acknowledge that Howard Dean has a ticket to the finals but I intend to be there with him and have a good healthy debate about the future of the Democratic Party and the future of America.”
(Kinzel) Lieberman says the Gore endorsement has helped his own fundraising efforts. Lieberman says his campaign has raised more money on the Internet this week than in any previous week of the campaign.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.