Lieberman: Dems Must Shun Gov't Programs
Mon Aug 4, 4:24 PM ET
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman (news - web sites) warned Monday that his Democratic rivals threaten to send
the party "into the political wilderness" with a return to big-government programs and less-than-strong stands on national security.
Determined to persuade Democrats that he is the only candidate capable of defeating President Bush (news -
web sites), the Connecticut senator said the party must focus on strengthening America's security and economy
and will, in turn, win over moderate voters.
"Some Democrats, on the contrary, still prefer the old, big government solutions to our problems," Lieberman
said in a speech to the National Press Club. "But, my friends, with record deficits, a stalled economy and Social
Security (news - web sites) in danger, we can't afford that."
Lieberman did not name any of his opponents but took a shot at their political stands on a range of issues.
He criticized Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt (news - web sites)'s plan to provide health care for nearly all Americans and his opposition to trade
treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.
He assailed those who opposed the U.S.-led war against Iraq (news - web sites) — former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Sen. Bob Graham
(news, bio, voting record) of Florida, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (news, bio, voting record) of Ohio former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and
Lieberman is positioning himself as the foil to Dean, whose campaign has taken off on his criticism of Bush's tax cuts and the conflict in Iraq.
Lieberman said those positions "could really be a ticket to nowhere."
"If George Bush and his bankrupt ideology are the problem, believe me, old Democratic policies like higher taxes and weakness on defense
are not the solution," Lieberman said. "We need to reclaim the vital center of American politics for the Democrats."
While Lieberman goes after the center to take votes from Bush, Dean says Democrats must take a stand against Bush's policies to win.
"Unlike some Democrats in Washington, Governor Dean believes that the way to beat George Bush is to stand up to him and to give people
a reason to vote," said Dean spokeswoman Tricia Enright.
In a question-and-answer period after the speech, Lieberman said he respects Dean's opposition to the war, but, "I just plain disagree with
Lieberman, who ran as Al Gore (news - web sites)'s running mate in 2000, was also asked if he would choose Gore as his vice presidential
"I would guess that being vice president is something one does once in a lifetime, so I don't think that's in the cards.
Lieberman had promised not to run for president this year if Gore was in the race. He also he doesn't expect Gore to change his mind and get
in now, but won't drop out if he does.
"I've crossed a bridge," he said. "I'm in this for the duration."