April 24, 2003


He's off to a slow start, so why is Lieberman smiling? (Scot Lehigh, 4/23/2003, Boston Globe)
Left in limbo for months while Al Gore, his 2000 ticketmate, mulled a comeback, the Connecticut senator got his own presidential quest off to a slow start, eroding his early standing. Once he did get in, Lieberman's outspoken support for military action to oust Saddam Hussein quickly put him on the wrong side of the divisive issue for many Democratic activists. At the New Hampshire Democratic Party's annual fund-raising dinner in Manchester on Feb. 27, a skeptical crowd sat on its hands as Lieberman outlined his reasons for going to war in Iraq. His first quarter fund-raising total of just over $3 million was less than half of those tallied by rivals John Kerry and John Edwards. And the latest New Hampshire poll shows him back in the pack, essentially tied with Dick Gephardt for third, behind Kerry and second-place Howard Dean. [...]

Despite the senator's slow start, his strategists claim to see opportunity in New Hampshire. Dean, they think, surfed the antiwar wave so hard he is now stranded outside the mainstream. Kerry, at 24 percent in the latest New Hampshire poll, is well shy of the 36 percent that next-door-neighbor Mike Dukakis tallied in winning the 1988 primary or the 33 percent that Tsongas garnered to win here in 1992.

Lieberman's combination of a muscular foreign policy, a progrowth, probusiness agenda, and progressive social stands is unusual among the candidates, he concedes. But not, he insists, among voters. Still, will a party driven halfway round the bend with loathing for the Republican incumbent really warm to a mild-mannered, low-key moderate, a man who thinks Bush has been a bad president, but is not a bad man, and certainly not the root of all evil?

Lieberman laughs out loud. ''Since I think you are describing me,'' he offers, '' I would say that that might be the New Hampshire way.''

This campaign is fast becoming an embarrassment. In fact, you have to assume he isn't running for president at all, but maybe for VP again. Posted by Orrin Judd at April 24, 2003 11:49 PM
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