Lieberman Confronts Anti-War Criticism
Aug. 07, 2006
EAST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ Facing intense pressure in his bid for the Democratic primary, Sen. Joe Lieberman strongly distanced himself from President Bush, saying he opposed the White House's domestic agenda and its handling of the Iraq war.
``I am the only Democrat in America to run against George Bush in a national election twice,'' Lieberman told supporters at a rally Sunday. ``You know why I ran for president in 2004? Because I believe that his agenda was wrong for our country and our future. And that's the truth.''
Meanwhile, a poll out Monday suggested the race may be tightening.
Lieberman, a three-term incumbent and his party's vice presidential candidate in 2000, has been dogged by liberal Democrats angry at him for supporting the war in Iraq.
Challenger Ned Lamont, a political newcomer and founder of a cable company, has capitalized on the war's unpopularity in Connecticut by accusing Lieberman of being too close to Republicans and Bush.
Lieberman has said he intends to run as an independent if he loses Tuesday's primary. In Connecticut, more than 942,000, or 45 percent, of the state's approximately 2.1 million voters are unaffiliated. More than 702,000 are Democrats and more than 456,000 Republicans.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday showed Lamont with a slight lead over Lieberman, 51 percent to 45 percent, among likely Democratic voters. The telephone poll, conducted from July 31 to Sunday, was of 784 likely Democratic primary voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
A Quinnipiac poll released last week showed Lamont leading Lieberman 54 percent to 41 percent in the Democratic primary. The margin of error in that poll was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
``Obviously we are very thrilled,'' Lieberman spokeswoman Marion Steinfels said. ``People who are making this decision are taking a serious look at Lieberman and Lamont and believe that Joe's the one who has been fighting for them.''
A message left with the Lamont campaign seeking comment was not returned.
Lamont ran into an enthusiastic audience Sunday while campaigning at firefighter's carnival in Orange. He drew a crowd as he made his way through the snow cone and cotton candy booths.
Sonja Duarte, 40, of East Haven, said Lamont has her vote. ``It's time for someone new,'' Duarte said. ``Lieberman is more Republican than Democrat right now.''
At his campaign rally, Lieberman said he has opposed nearly major domestic issue Bush has backed, including a ban on stem cell research and a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
Lieberman laid out his stance on Iraq, saying he did support the resolution giving the president authority to take out Saddam Hussein, as did many Senate Democrats.
``I still believe that was right. What I don't think is right, as I have said over and over again, are many of the Bush administration decisions regarding the conduct of the war,'' he said.
He criticized the president for not having a plan to win the peace and for a shortage of troops and allies.
``Don't think for a minute I do not grieve for every casualty of this war,'' Lieberman said. ``In fact, as someone who voted for the war, I feel a heavy responsibility to try to end it as quickly and successfully as possible.''