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Lieberman says he's got the 'Joementum'

'I think it's going to keep building to a surprising finish'

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Joe Lieberman shakes hands with voters during a walk in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Joe Lieberman shakes hands with voters during a walk in Manchester, New Hampshire.

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(CNN) -- Buoyed by a rise in the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll two days before the New Hampshire primary, Sen. Joe Lieberman said Sunday his campaign is gaining support, especially from independents, that will propel him to victory nationwide.

Writing off speculation that he may make a poor showing in New hampshire and drop out of the race, Lieberman told CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer that his campaign is picking up, as he put it, "Joementum."

"The experts were saying this guy is nowhere in the race. Since the debate Thursday night, the people of New Hampshire are making up their minds. And you know what? They're sick of the outside experts telling them who's going to do what in this primary on Tuesday," he said. "Thank God they have the last word."

Lieberman said he has the funds to continue his campaign past New Hampshire, and he expects a new infusion of contributions once the results are in Tuesday night.

"I've always said not that I would win here, but I'd do better than expected. And it sure looks like that's happening. And then we'd go on to the other states... and surprise people," he said

The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Sunday found Lieberman surpassing Sen. John Edwards and former NATO Gen. Wesley Clark for third place behind Sen. John Kerry and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. Lieberman had the support of 12 percent of 688 likely voters in New Hampshire, while Kerry was at 38 percent and Dean 25 percent.

Clark was at 10 percent, and Edwards at 9 percent. The differences among Lieberman, Clark, and Edwards were within the margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points. (Poll shows Kerry, Dean, Lieberman ascendant)

'I have Hadassah'

Greeting a crowd of 100 supporters at a campaign stop Sunday, Lieberman announced the poll results to an explosion of applause. Introducing his wife, he jokingly put down Clark. "One of the other candidates has Madonna," Lieberman said, referring to Clark's endorsement from the pop star. "I have Hadassah."

In the CNN interview, he said his campaign has won over many independent New Hampshire voters who supported Sen. John McCain in the 2000 Republican presidential primary.

"I think it's going to keep building to a surprising finish," he said, arguing that voters see him as someone who can unseat Bush in the November general election. "I can get Democrats, independents and a growing number of Republicans who are disappointed with George Bush but won't vote for any Democrat."

Lieberman also touted his support for the war in Iraq that deposed Saddam Hussein.

"Among the seven Democratic candidates, I'm the strongest on security," he said. "In an age of terrorism and tyranny, the American people are not going to vote for a candidate -- no matter how angry they are at George Bush about their lost jobs, their higher cost of health insurance, the desecration of our environment and compromise of our rights --... unless they believe that Democrat can keep them safe. And I'm the one, based on my record, who will do that."

Asked about February 3 when the candidates will face contests in Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, Lieberman said, "We're going to do best in Delaware, South Carolina, Arizona and Oklahoma. That's... where we've invested most research."

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