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Gore to Name Sen. Lieberman as V.P. Running MateAired August 7, 2000 - 7:01 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: We move quickly now to Washington D.C. and to our senior White House correspondent -- actually in Nashville -- traveling with Vice President Gore. We understand there might be word that he has picked a vice presidential candidate as his running mate -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Carol.
CNN told by a senior Democratic source that Vice President Al Gore has settled on Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut to join him on the Democratic ticket. The 58-year-old senator, like Gore, a member of the Democratic Leadership Council. He is viewed as a Democratic moderate, and most notably, he was among the first Democrats to speak out and condemn President Clinton's conduct during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
There was some talk over the weekend that perhaps Mr. Lieberman would be passed over, even though he was among the vice president's favorites, because he is an Orthodox Jew. Some in the Gore campaign worrying there would be lingering religious prejudice against him.
However, CNN, again, told this morning by a senior Democratic official, the vice president has selected Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. He will officially place that call later today. Mr. Lieberman will be here in Nashville, Tennessee, noon local time tomorrow, to be announced as a Vice President Gore's running mate.
The Gore-Lieberman ticket taking shape now to run against the Bush-Cheney ticket this fall -- Carol.
LIN: John, why do you think that Vice President Gore went with the older and more experienced candidate rather than a younger face?
KING: Well, the vice president, we're told, had come down to four Democratic senators in the end, Mr. Lieberman of Connecticut, Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, Evan Bayh of Indiana, John Kerry of Massachusetts. All those urging the vice president to think boldly here.
He's down double digits in the polls after the Republican convention. The vice president, we're told, wanted a bold pick. He was up with his senior staff until midnight last night. The final decision not made until Tipper Gore arrived here in Nashville to meet with her husband.
He is in sync with Gore on the major issues, again, both products of the moderate Democratic Leadership Council. Sen. Lieberman viewed as a very serious policy figure in United States Senate. Also, viewed here, given the tone of the Republican convention -- remember, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush both trying to link Vice President Gore to the personal misconduct of President Clinton -- this viewed as a pick that will help the vice president make the case that, while on policy matters, especially the economy, he wants credit for the Clinton administration's successes, but he's also eager to distance himself from the president's personal failures.
LIN: But, John, in your analysis, is this likely to be a ticket that's going to make Republicans nervous?
KING: Well, Mr. Lieberman comes from a small state, Connecticut in New England, the state that was viewed as competitive this fall, so this will not be viewed as a traditional political choice in the sense of picking somebody to try to win one state. Remember, at one time, there was talk of picking Senator Bob Graham of Florida to try to put that big state into play.
This will be viewed more as a thematic pick, the vice president again trying to pick someone viewed as very serious on policy, very centrist, somewhat conservative even on fiscal matters and someone, again, among the first Democrats to speak out against the president's conduct in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. So this a thematic picked now, not viewed as a big Electoral College choice.
Obviously, the vice president trying pick someone with whom he is in sync on the issues, and also trying to think boldly, as his aides describe it, in taking a bit of a risk in picking the first Jewish man who will be on a national political ticket -- Carol.
LIN: John, Sen. Lieberman's indisputable moral reputation, is that likely to help Gore, who was under investigation for campaign finance activities?
KING: Well, it's certainly, again, one of the reasons he was considered. He was called over the weekend by Ed Rendell, who is the Democratic National Committee chairman, a former mayor of Philadelphia. Mr. Rendell called Mr. Lieberman perhaps the finest man in politics and someone known for his moral rectitude. Again, he is an Orthodox Jew.
Now, the vice president, obviously, sensitive not only to allegations that he cannot get out of the president's shadow because of the president's conduct in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, but also the recurring questions about his own 1996 fund-raising.
The vice president has said he is trying to put that all behind him, trying to take note that he favors more aggressive, at least in his view, campaign finance reform than Gov. Bush does. So, certainly, this a pick the Gore campaign will try to use to reinforce the image that the vice president is much more reform-oriented than Gov. Bush and the Republican ticket. LIN: All right, thank you very much, John King. We want to ask you standby, but give you a break here, so you can work your sources a little further on this story.
But, for now, we go to Leon.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, let's get some more now on Senator Joseph Lieberman. He is now on the -- he could be on the ticket, and now the scrutiny begins.
Let's take a look now at his background.
Beth Fouhy now offers us this profile.
BETH FOUHY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In September, 1998, Joe Lieberman stepped to the Senate floor and delivered a memorable speech denouncing President Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a speech that help steer Al Gore to choose him as his vice presidential nominee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Such behavior is not just inappropriate, it is immoral, and it is harmful, for it sends a message of what is acceptable behavior to the larger American family, particularly to our children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOUHY: The speech gave Lieberman national stature and reinforced his image as a principled champion of moral integrity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMAN: Let's get some of the drugs out of the area, then we can eliminate some of the crime problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOUHY: A former state attorney general, Lieberman was elected to the Senate in 1988, squeaking by long-time Republican incumbent Lowell Weicker by the narrowist of margins. He was easily re-elected in 1994.
Like Al Gore and Bill Clinton, Lieberman is a so-called "New Democrat," who has pushed his party closer to the center on issues like welfare reform. He was a strong supporter of the 1991 Gulf War, and helped lead the Senate to support a resolution favoring military intervention there. But in other ways, Lieberman is a sharp step away from the Northeastern New Democratic mold he helped to fashion.
He is an Orthodox Jew, who will sometimes cast Senate votes on the Saturday Sabbath, but typically does not campaign that day. And he has teamed up with conservative leader William Bennett to denounce cultural degradation of the entertainment industry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMAN: Orgasmic moans, incestuous leering, urinating for revenge, nothing seems too degrading to be played for a cheap laugh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOUHY (on camera): Lieberman was on his way to easy reelection in November, and under Connecticut law, he can continue to run for his Senate seat and as Al Gore's running mate. Either way he'll continue to play a key role in politics in the nation's capital.
Beth Fouhy, CNN, Washington.
HARRIS: Once again, just to recap what we have just learned from senior Democratic sources in Nashville this morning, our John King reporting that Senator Joseph Lieberman will be tapped by Al Gore to join him on the Democratic ticket.
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