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Lieberman vows to keep running

He claims 'three-way split decision for third place'

Sen. Joe Lieberman says the primary race is
Sen. Joe Lieberman says the primary race is "about the heart and soul of the Democratic Party."

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Lieberman says he is not giving up the fight.
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(CNN) -- Despite not getting enough votes Tuesday to break into double digits in the New Hampshire primary, Sen. Joe Lieberman claimed to share third place and vowed to move on to the next Democratic battlegrounds.

"We are in a three-way split decision for third place," the senator from Connecticut told supporters. "The people of New Hampshire put me in the ring, and that's where we're going to stay."

Lieberman finished the race in the Granite State with 9 percent of votes, behind retired Gen. Wesley Clark and Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, with 12 percent each. With 97 percent of the vote counted, Clark led Edwards by fewer than 1,000 votes.

Lieberman referred to the two top vote-getters as New Hampshire's next-door-neighbor candidates. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts won with 39 percent of the votes, while former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean came in second, with about a quarter of all votes.

Lieberman said the primary season "was about the heart and soul of the Democratic Party," and he urged his party members to choose him.

"I am the one mainstream Democratic alternative to the extremes of George W. Bush, and that is why I am the one Democrat who can and will deny this president a second term and give America the fresh start that we need."

He said the issues Republicans could use against Kerry would not work against himself.

"They can't call me weak on defense because I supported the [Persian] Gulf War and the war against Saddam. I continue to support our troops. I wrote the Homeland Security Bill. I supported the war in the Balkans to stop the war of aggression and genocide. They can't say I'm a big taxer and spender because I'm out with the biggest middle class tax cut of any of the candidates," Lieberman said.

"And they can't say I'm a flip-flopper, which they love to say about Democrats, because I'm not. I take one position before every crowd. It got me some heckles and boos at times in this campaign."

Lieberman was first introduced to millions of U.S. voters as Al Gore's running mate in his unsuccessful presidential bid in 2000.

He skipped the Iowa caucuses to campaign for months in New Hampshire.

The senator told supporters that the leadership in the next seven states to hold primaries or caucuses said they needed him and demanded that he come to their states.

Lieberman's plans to travel Tuesday night by chartered airplane to Wilmington, Delaware, were thwarted by the weather, when snow closed the airport in that city. He changed his flight plan to go to Oklahoma, which holds a primary next Tuesday.

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