Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Lieberman Rebuffs Lamont Challenge - Will Not Support Party if Lamont Wins

This morning on WSTC/WNLK here in Connecticut, Lieberman campaign manager Sean Smith made it official. He said this to news reporter Erik Campano,

Are we going to support Ned Lamont? Ah, no! (laughs)...

Listen to the audio clip (MP3 , 42kb, 10sec)

Smith goes on to make eroneous claims that Lamont is a closet Republican, and that's the reason why Lieberman will not support him. As in the past, Smith claims, without any specifics, that when serving on the Greenwich Board of Selectmen and Board of Estimates and Taxation he voted with the Republicans 80% of the time. Smith fails to mention that Lamont served on these boards over 12 years ago, and that in Greenwich town politics there are rarely divisive partyline votes as in the US Senate. The Lieberman campaign attempted to paint Lamont as a Republican in their "Greenwich Millionaire" TV ads, which were pulled almost immediately because they were not effective. I assumed they would have moved onto another strategy by now.

Lamont spokesperson, Liz Dupont-Diehl responded to Smith's remarks by quoting from Joe Lieberman's own book, In Praise of Public Life, saying:
"it's unfair and misleading to go back many years into an opponent's record and take isolated votes and distort them, and here he is doing the exact same thing" (more in the clip)

Listen to the audio clip (MP3, 81kb, 20sec)

Smith's comments were in response to questions about Ned Lamont's latest radio ad , in which he makes this challenge to Senator Lieberman:
So I have a challenge for our junior senator. Joe, let’s both go to the Democratic primary on August 8th, and let the people of Connecticut decide. I’ll pledge to back you one hundred percent if you win. And for the good of the party, you’ll pledge to support me one hundred percent if I’m victorious. What do you say Senator? May the best Democrat win.
Stories about the new Lamont radio spot are all over the news and blogs this morning. But, it appears that local reporter Campano was the only one to get the Lieberman campaign on the record stating Lieberman's intentions to NOT support the winner of the Democratic primary. Perhaps Sean Smith thinks that no one listens to AM radio anymore?

Several newspapers, including The Boston Globe picked up the story of Lamont's ads from the Associated Press. Though the AP story does not have the Lieberman campaign saying they will not support Lamont if he wins.

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