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Lieberman, Cheney give best possible debate 'spin'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Running mates Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney watched the presidential debate from afar Tuesday night, but were more than ready to jump into the political fray minutes after Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush stepped off the stage in Boston.

Lieberman
Sen. Joe Lieberman takes a break from debate preparations to talk to CNN.  

Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, said Bush used unfair personal attacks against Gore.

"I thought that Gov. Bush's attack on Al Gore, his character and credibility, was very unfair and not what the campaign should be about," Lieberman said on CNN minutes after the debate included. "In moments of desperation, Gov. Bush turned back to attack President Clinton. His name is not on the ballot, its Al Gore and me against George Bush and Dick Cheney."

During the final minutes of the debate, Bush accused the vice president of playing a role in the Clinton administration's history of ethics problems. He also said Gore should be held responsible for attending a questionable political fund-raiser at a Buddhist temple in California during the 1996 election cycle.

Lieberman has been keeping a relatively low profile preparing for Thursday night's match up against GOP vice presidential nominee Dick Cheney in Danville, Kentucky. He has been mostly holed up in a 19th Century mansion staging mock debates and preparing talking points.

Meanwhile, Cheney tuned in from a popular restaurant in Montgomery, Ohio. Appearing on CNN, he dismissed notions that Bush was hoping merely to stand his ground against his more experienced debate opponent.

Cheney
Dick Cheney appears on CNN from Montgomery, Ohio.  

"He did much more," argued Dick Cheney. "I thought he was very effective tonight, very calm, cool, very disciplined. He laid out the message and helped draw the contrasts."

Cheney is staying in the congressional district of Rep. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who has been helping the former defense secretary prepare for the vice presidential debate by serving as a stand-in for Lieberman. Although he billed it as "second tier," Cheney said the forum will provide him another opportunity to draw contrasts on issues such as the economy.

"Al Gore clearly wants to take most of the surplus and spend it on bigger government," Cheney said. "We have an interest in supporting programs that will give people more choices, control of their own lives, and can give some of the surplus back to them."

As for his own expectations, Cheney told CNN, "I want to do as well as the governor did."

 
EUROPE'S VIEW
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WHAT'S AT STAKE

VIDEO
Watch selected policy speeches and campaign commercials from the major presidential candidates.

WHERE THEY STAND
See where George W. Bush and Al Gore stand on the major issues.

THE STATES
Who are your elected officials? What is the past presidential vote and number of electoral votes in your state? What are the presidential primary results and exit polls? Find out with these state political and election facts.

ELECTION GUIDE
Get Election 2000 zip code searchable candidate biographies and other material for races for governor, Senate and House in our Election Guide.

FOLLOW THE MONEY
How much money have the candidates raised? Here are their quarterly reports to the Federal Election Commission.

RACES
If you need to know who's up in 2000 and what seats are open, launch this quick guide.

WEB WHITE AND BLUE
Allpolitics.com is a partner in the Web White and Blue rolling cyber-debate, a daily online exchange among the major presidential candidates. Look for twice-daily updates Sunday through Friday until election day.


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Wednesday, October 4, 2000


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