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Lieberman to meet next Thursday with Cheney

Democratic candidate tells fellow senators his feelings about election

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, said Thursday night on CNN's "Larry King Live" that he and Vice President-elect Dick Cheney will meet in one week.

"I congratulated him, I wished him well," Lieberman said of their phone call. He also said he and Cheney talked of working together.

lieberman
Sen. Joe Lieberman congratulates Vice President-elect Dick Cheney on CNN's Larry King Live  

"He joked that we'd probably have plenty of opportunities because with a 50-50 tie in the Senate, he expected to spend a lot of time in the chair," said Lieberman, referring to the vice president's duty to cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

Earlier, Lieberman told his Senate colleagues the election campaign had uncovered voting problems that need to be addressed, reaffirmed America's democratic institutions and left him filled with gratitude.

In a short address on the Senate floor, Lieberman, who was re-elected to the Senate from Connecticut even as he ran for vice president, said he had congratulated President-elect George W. Bush.

He said the presidential race -- "the closest we have ever had" -- was a call for bipartisanship.

"That puts a special burden not just on Governor Bush but all of us here in Congress to work on a bipartisan basis and in a cooperative spirit," said Lieberman.

He said he hoped Bush could put together a "constructive consensus."

"Most of the American people want only a little help every now and then as they work so hard to make their lives better," said Lieberman, "and that is exactly what we together should do for them."

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The election, "opened eyes to overlooked problems, to the disparity in technologies and practices that may be stopping significant numbers from having their votes counted, undermining the electoral rights of many poor and minority citizens. Those problems call out for bipartisan investigation and reform."

Lieberman, 58-year-old two-term senator from Connecticut criticized by some Democratic colleagues for running for both offices, said he believed the close election also strengthened America's institutions such as the judicial system.

"We preserve and protect our system of justice best when we accept its judgments that we disagree with most," said Lieberman.

"This presidential campaign is over and I congratulate Governor Bush and Secretary Cheney and wish them well."

Lieberman
Sen. Joe Lieberman  

But when asked about the possibility of Bush appointing Sen. John Breaux, D-Louisiana, as Secretary of Energy, Lieberman said he hoped Bush could find "another good Democrat" for that position.

"I love John Breaux, he's one of my best friends in the Senate. We've worked together in the New Democratic Movement," Lieberman said. "Frankly, I'd hate to see him go. He is just the kind of bridge-builder and great legislator that we need to stay in the Senate to make this work."

This wasn't the first election defeat for Lieberman.

"I lost one in 1980 when I ran for Congress in New Haven. I remember it well, it was a painful experience," he told King.

But in his Senate address, Lieberman said, "The most powerful emotion I feel is gratitude," particularly toward Gore, the man who put him on the ticket in one of the campaign's most dramatic moments.

Liberman said Gore "ran this campaign as he runs his life -- with honor, intelligence and devotion."

He said he was particularly grateful that Gore gave him, a Jewish-American, the opportunity to run and that his religion played such a small little part in the campaign. He was the first Jewish person ever chosen for a presidential ticket.

"While my faith was the focus of much of the early media reaction to my candidacy it was not even mentioned at the end of the campaign. And that is the way we had all hoped it would be," said Lieberman.

Noting that he and Gore received "the second highest number of votes in the history of American elections," parents should be encouraged because, "Anything is possible for anyone in America."


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Thursday, December 14, 2000


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