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Gore Announces Lieberman as Running MateAired August 8, 2000 - 1:10 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to a CNN Election 2000 special: the announcement of Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman as Al Gore's running mate.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
I am joined by CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider, he's with me here in Washington. And CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield, he joins us from New York.
But first, any second now, Al Gore will march into War Memorial Plaza in downtown Nashville to launch a new offensive in this campaign. At his side, a new recruit named Lieberman.
CNN's John King is there in Nashville, he joins us now.
John, bring us up to date.
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: As you mentioned, Judy, the Democratic ticket due on stage here any minute now. Look for two major themes here. The first one, both Al Gore and Joe Lieberman will make reference to the bit of history being made today, Joe Lieberman the first Jew to be on a major national party ticket. Vice President Gore will remind the audience here that it was in Los Angeles, the same site of the Democratic convention this year, where Democrats nominated the first Roman Catholic to win the presidency, John Kennedy. He's looking to make history again this year. Senator Lieberman, in his remarks, also makes notice of that historic day.
But the two then immediately turn to the fight ahead. They are trailing the Republican ticket of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney right now. In their remarks today, both the vice president and his new partner will sound populist themes, calling Bush and Cheney the ticket of big oil and big business and the special interests, trying to make the case that it is the Democrats who would bring middle class tax cuts, a patients' bill of rights, other signature items of the Democratic agenda.
The vice president hoping today here, that with his new partner, he can move a bit out of the shadow of "Clinton fatigue," as the pollsters call it, of the president's personal misgivings, and present a new face for the Democratic Party. They will then campaign across the country in the week to the Democratic National Convention.
They're due on stage here in just about a minute and a half -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King stand by, we're going to come back to you after we hear those remarks.
Let's bring Bill Schneider and Jeff Greenfield in.
But first, Americans who know something about Joe Lieberman say they like him. But most Americans at this point don't know a great deal about him. A CNN/"USA Today" Gallup poll taken overnight shows Lieberman's favorable rating outweighs his unfavorable rating by more than three to one: 37 percent to 10. But 53 percent say they're unfamiliar with the junior senator from Connecticut. The question was asked of 600 registered voters.
Well, apart from all the other factors that go into choosing and evaluating a running-mate, the Lieberman choice brings an issue not seen in 40 years.
And here to help us quickly look at that before we hear from Vice President Gore, CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider.
This is a first, no question.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it is, and it recalls the 40 years ago when -- actually for the second time, the Democrats put a Roman Catholic, in that case, at the top of ticket, John F. Kennedy. And of course, there was -- it was a difficult election for a lot of voters. It turned out that the Protestant vote held steady for the Democrats. The Catholic vote went way up, and Kennedy won a very narrow victory. Of course, Lieberman is running for vice president not president. So it's a different kind of situation.
WOODRUFF: Jeff Greenfield, any question at all that this decision was largely about separating Al Gore from the problems, the scandals of President Clinton?
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: No, I don't think so. You look at the rest of the list and the one person on that list of the finalists who clearly marked a dividing line between Bill Clinton and the future was Joe Lieberman. That speech, which I guess has already been replayed about 150 times, the speech in September of '98, when Lieberman said that conduct was not only -- he said it was immoral and he said it had public consequences, I think was -- and Joe Lieberman's record as somebody who would even question Democratic fund-raising techniques as well Republicans, I think that was the marker that was put down with this choice.
WOODRUFF: Jeff, does that mean, then, that the Bush/Cheney ticket can't go after Gore's connection with Clinton at all?
GREENFIELD: I think -- no, I don't expect a silence. I think, in fact, the one thing -- door that it opens is the door that says: your own man says so. That rule in -- you know, when a pickup baseball games breaks into argument. They can say: Look what your running mate said about the president. We're entitled to talk about restoring decency and honor in the White House.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider.
SCHNEIDER: Well, I think, Lieberman, what he got in Lieberman was a candidate who has been loyal to Clinton's New Democratic agenda while scathingly critical of Clinton's personal behavior, that's the combination he was looking for. My guess is, from what we know in advance, that they will just ignore Bill Clinton. He probably won't even get mentioned today. Because what the choice of Lieberman did was convince voters, at least overnight, to take a fresh look at Al Gore. It was a bold, risky and un-Gore-like choice. And voters are saying: "Hmm, maybe we ought to take another look at this guy," which is exactly what Al Gore wants.
WOODRUFF: Right in the picture you're seeing here, Bill and Jeff, you're seeing the Gores. Vice President Gore, his wife Tipper coming up the steps to the platform here. This is War Memorial Plaza in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. They are followed by Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman and his wife Hadassah.
SCHNEIDER: You know, the Bush convention in Philadelphia last week, they prided themselves on being very inclusive, and Gore trumped that. What he did, by picking Lieberman, he was saying: You want to see inclusive, let me show you inclusive.
WOODRUFF: This is inclusive.
SCHNEIDER: This is inclusive, you know, you want to see moderation, centrism, Joe Lieberman is a true moderate.
WOODRUFF: We're seeing again, just pointing out that's, of course, Senator Lieberman on the right, his wife Hadassah.
It's interesting, yesterday, for all the talk about Senator Lieberman being among the finalists, he said yesterday when he was asked, you know, what was his reaction, it was clearly an emotional one. He was overwhelmed. His Rabbi, I saw an interview with his Rabbi, who said he's just -- he's almost speechless. He really wasn't -- didn't think this was going to happen.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, well, people have been saying when it will it be that we have a -- we've had a woman vice president, when will a Jewish candidate, and eventually, an African-American candidate. So when you have a historic first like this, it's always a stirring moment for a lot of Americans.
WOODRUFF: You do know that...
GREENFIELD: One sidelight -- sorry.
WOODRUFF: Go ahead.
GREENFIELD: One sidelight, when Joe Lieberman was given the name of this of this woman as a possible -- would he be interested in, he said he always wanted -- he said he picked her name out of a sort of box where he had some names of prospective dates, because he always wanted to date somebody who was named after a prominent Jewish service organization, Hadassah being one of the largest -- that's what he said, in case you're wondering about that name.
WOODRUFF: Well, we appreciate that.
Jeff, we should mention, by the way, went to law school with Joe Lieberman. And we're already milking Jeff for information about that.
GREENFIELD: Well, I would love to tell you some scandalous events, but that's not the kind of person Joe was, we'll leave me out of it.
WOODRUFF: You said to us yesterday...
SCHNEIDER: Who got better grades?
GREENFIELD: Well, look what it got me.
WOODRUFF: Jeff, you did tell us yesterday that his nickname in law school was Senator.
This is Tipper Gore, she's going to be introducing her husband.
TIPPER GORE, WIFE OF VICE PRES. AL GORE: Welcome everybody! Thank you so much! Very excited to be here. This is an exciting and an historic day for Tennessee. And I know, I know a little bit about the excitement that the Lieberman family is feeling. And I want to thank all of you for giving them a warm welcome to Tennessee.
Thank you, thank you.
Before I introduce Al, I want to introduce you to someone else. You all know what an extraordinary person Senator Joe Lieberman is. And I want you -- I want you to know another very extraordinary person. A person who represents the very best of America, my friend Hadassah.
Let me tell you something, years after the fact -- years after the fact, we were talking last night about the fact that we graduated the same year from the same class at Boston University. And I have admired her, and we have been friends for 15 years.
I want you to know something about her. Her mother is a survivor of Auschwitz and Dachau; her father was in Nazi labor camps and organized an escape of Jewish men. And after the war was over, he helped organize and nurture Jewish orphans. Hadassah...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
... Hadassah is here.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
Hadassah was born to this extraordinary couple in Czechoslovakia. When she was 3 years old, her father took the family, escaped Stalin's oppression and emigrated to America. To me, she's not only a friend, but she represents what America is all about. I would like you to welcome Hadassah Lieberman.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
HADASSAH LIEBERMAN, WIFE OF SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN: We are thrilled and very, very deeply moved and honored today to be in the great state of Tennessee...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
... with our dear and beloved friends, Al and Tipper.
When Tipper told me that she was going to talk a bit, just mention my background today, and here I am in this place that commemorates World War II wars of veterans, and here I am the daughter of survivors from the Holocaust, the most horrendous thing that happened. And here I am in the place that commemorates the American heroes, the soldiers who actually liberated my mother in Dachau and in Auschwitz and how...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
So I stand before you very deeply, sincerely thankful that I am an American, grateful that we have such a wonderful, wonderful family in the Gores, and that they have made this bold, wonderful choice to help us be part of the ticket that's going to win.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
Let me end, now, with just this one statement. And I say this to all of you here and all of you who are watching this on television. And this is real. Whether you and your family immigrated from Europe, Africa, Mexico, Latin America, or Asia, I am standing here for you. This country is our country!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
This land is your land! and anything is possible for us!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
T. GORE: And now it gives me great pleasure to introduce a man whose faith and family are the cornerstones of his life. He has always been there for our family, and he will always be there for your family. A man who has the values and the vision to unite all of us. And a man who, with your help, will be the next president of the United States. My husband, Al Gore.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you, Tipper. Thank you, Hadassah.
Thank you, my friends.
With pride in his achievements, with gratitude for his acceptance of this challenge, and with faith in his fight for working families, I'm here to announce my running mate, the next vice president of the United States, Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.
Tipper and I and our family, including my mother, are thrilled to welcome Joe and Hadassah and their family, including Joe's mother.
And I say to all of you now together, we're going to take this ticket from Nashville, Tennessee, today, to Los Angeles, California, next week...
... and then all the way across America to the White House in November.
When I set out to choose a running mate, I said from the start that I had three simple tests. First and most importantly, I wanted someone who had the experience, the character and the judgment to become president on a moment's notice, should that ever become necessary. Second, I wanted someone who could work with me as a partner, someone who shares my values and believes in the promise of America, as I do. And, third, I wanted someone who would fight right alongside me for the people, not the powerful.
Joe Lieberman has the experience and the integrity; he has the courage and the commitment. And for all his public life, Joe Lieberman has stood for working families. He's the right person.
No one is better prepared to be vice president of the United States of America.
AUDIENCE: Joe, Joe, Joe.
A. GORE: As attorney general of Connecticut, he took on the big polluters to clean up toxic waste.
He believes -- he believes as I do that every family has a right to clean air and clean water. He believes, as I do, that the Earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof.
Joe Lieberman has stood up to the big oil companies and cracked down on price gouging at the gas pumps.
He believes, as I do, in an America that frees itself forever from the dominance of Big Oil and foreign oil.
I've known Joe Lieberman for 15 years now. We have stood together again and again for policies and principles to bring a new time of prosperity and progress. Together we fought for welfare reform, to set time limits and make welfare a second chance and not a way of life, and the welfare rolls have been cut in half...
... with people moving into good jobs.
Together we fought for fiscal discipline, for balanced budgets based on hard numbers and tough choices. And in the Gore-Lieberman administration, we will put this nation on the road to completely eliminating our national debt, to keep the prosperity and progress going.
Together we fought to make our communities safe again. We're putting 100,000 new community police on our streets, and we've seen crime rates fall seven years in a row.
In our administration, we're going to pass a crime victims' bill of rights, including a constitutional amendment to make sure that victims and not just criminals have guaranteed rights in our justice system.
Together we fought to provide health care for children in need and to make sure that families don't lose health insurance when a parent loses job or changes jobs.
And in the Gore-Lieberman administration, we're going to pass a prescription drug benefit in the Medicare program for all of our seniors.
And we're going to pass a real patients' bill of rights to take the medical decisions away from the accountants and give them back to the doctors and the nurses and the health care professionals.
And we're going to move step by step toward health care for all our families, starting with every child by the year 2004.
Joe Lieberman and I have fought together for campaign finance reform, and that will be the very first bill of the Gore-Lieberman administration.
And together, Joe Lieberman and I have always stood for a strong national defense. He and I broke with our own party to cast two lonely Democratic votes in support of the Persian Gulf War. And next January, we're going to lead the fight to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
There's a big difference in this election, and it comes down to this: Joe and I are fighting to see to it that our prosperity benefits working families and not just the few, to make sensible investments in health care, education, secure retirement.
We're fighting for middle class tax cuts, not a massive tax giveaway that, in Joe's words, gives a buck a day at most to the average person and more than $50,000 a year to the wealthy who don't need it.
Joe is devoted to his family. Tipper and I have often seen firsthand the joy that he and Hadassah find in each other and in their children. And here is something I regard as being of special importance: Joe is a grandfather.
Now, as many of you know, my grandson Wyatt was born a little over a year ago on the Fourth of July, and I've been bragging about him. I want you to know that Joe has two grandchildren, a girl Wyatt's age named Willie D. and a beautiful 3-year-old granddaughter whose name is -- listen to this -- Tennessee.
And, to put the icing on the cake, Tennessee's mother, April, was born in the same Tennessee county, Weakley County, where my mother was born and where Tipper's grandmother was born. I think something's in the air here.
(APPLAUSE) Joe and I come from different regions and different religious faiths, but we believe in a common set of ideals. And we both believe with our whole resolve that as Americans we must make real the great ideal that we are one country with a common destiny.
Next week, when our party meets in Los Angeles, we will recall the last time we met there, at the convention where we nominated John F. Kennedy. That year, we voted with our hearts to make history by tearing down an old wall of division.
And when we nominate Joe Lieberman for vice president, we will make history again. We will tear down...
... an old wall of division once again.
When he sought the presidency more than 30 years ago, Robert Kennedy summoned us to make new the life of the world. That year, Robert Kennedy's Connecticut campaign chair was a young man of purpose and character, a young man who had dedicated himself to social justice and working families. Earlier, when he was in college, that young man traveled here to the South, a year before Freedom Summer when great fights for civil rights were fought and won, to help register African- Americans to vote.
Before he went, that young man wrote these words: "I am going because there is much work to be done. I am an American, and this is one nation or it is nothing."
That young man's name was Joe Lieberman. And as I stand next to him today, I believe in my heart that we are one step closer to truly being one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Ladies and gentlemen, the next vice president of the United States of America, Joe Lieberman.
AUDIENCE: Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Let me tell you, I love Tennessee.
(APPLAUSE) Thank you, dear friends, for that extraordinarily warm welcome. Thank you, Mr. Vice President, for your confidence, for your courage, for your great words. I am humbled and honored and excited to be here in Nashville today. I am proud to stand by your side and ready to use every ounce of strength and capacity that the Good Lord has given me to make you the next great president of the United States.
Dear friends, I am so full of gratitude at this moment. I ask you to allow me to let the spirit move me as it does to remember the words from Chronicles, which are to give thanks to God. To give thanks to God and declare his name and make his acts known to the people.
To be glad of spirit. To sing to God and to make music to God, and most of all, to give glory and gratitude to God from whom all blessings truly do flow.
Dear Lord, maker of all miracles, I thank you for bringing me to this extraordinary moment in my life.
And, Al Gore, I thank you for making this miracle possible for me and breaking this barrier for the rest of America, forever.
God bless you and thank you.
AUDIENCE: Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe.
J. LIEBERMAN: Thank you. Thank you.
I am so proud to be joined here today by my family and the Gore family. We are so grateful to Al and Tipper, not just for having the confidence to chose Hadassah and me, but for being such dear friends and making this last miraculous day and a half be so comfortable and full of concern and support for us.
I'm proud to have our children here -- Hana and Rebecca and Matt and his now famous wife, April...
... and Ethan and his wife, Ariella (ph).
And Al, I want to thank you for mentioning my granddaughter, Tennessee. (APPLAUSE)
I'm just sorry that we also couldn't be joined here today by my cousin, Carthage.
Well, as the vice president has mentioned, Tennessee, our beautiful granddaughter, is not the only member of our family that traces her lineage to this great state. My daughter-in-law, April, was born and raised, as Al said, in the small town of Gleason, Tennessee, in Weakley County.
I bet all of Gleason is here today. It's right in the middle of that county, which happens, as Al said, to be the birthplace of another strong and proud pioneering woman of the South, her name is Pauline Gore, and I am so honored that she is here today.
Al Gore and I were lucky to have been born into strong and loving families. Our parents taught us the importance of faith and family and country. I am so proud that my mom, Marcia Lieberman, is with us today. You know, she's 85 years old, and she told me this morning that she's never felt younger in her life than she does today.
I am so grateful to God for so many things in my life, but I'll never be more grateful for anything than I am for the woman who has been my friend, my partner and my inspiration for almost 20 years now.
I love you and thank you, my dear, Hadassah Freilich Lieberman.
Now, my friends, I stand here today with a proud, simple but I think very important, message: Al Gore of Tennessee is the best man to lead America into the new century.
And I know you agree with me.
And America agrees with us, too.
Al and I have been friends for almost 15 years now, personal friends. And I can tell you that before the nation knew Al Gore as a vice president, I knew him as a man of family and a man of faith. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, more important to Al Gore in this world than the strength of his family and the love and devotion he has for his wonderful children. I can tell you the times -- the many times -- he moved meetings or rearranged his schedule to attend his children's sporting events or to be home when one of his daughters called from school. He has never, never wavered in his responsibilities as a father, as a husband and, yes, as a servant of God Almighty. Those are qualities that make him a great man and will make him the next great president of the United States of America.
Now, my friends, leadership is not just a word. It means something. It requires courage, it requires character, and I can stand here today and say to you from personal experience that Al Gore has both. He has proven time and time again, by volunteering to serve his country in Vietnam, by honoring the legacy of his father with 14 remarkable years in the United States Congress, by compiling the most accomplished and successful record of leadership of any vice president in the history of his great country.
That record, my friends, speaks for itself.
Forty years ago, when I was 18 years old, I remember so clearly watching in awe as John F. Kennedy, the inspiration and hero of my political life, became the first Roman Catholic president of the United States.
To me, that election said so much to me about the courage and the character and the fairness of the American people. And I want to say to you today that choosing me as his running mate says the same thing about the courage and character and fairness of Al Gore of Tennessee.
You know, there are some people who might actually call Al's selection of me an act of chutzpah.
I cannot express with words the gratitude that I feel in my heart today, as the first Jewish American to be honored to be a major party candidate for the vice presidency of this blessed United States of America of ours.
But let's be very clear about this. Let's be very clear about this. It isn't me, Joe Lieberman, who deserves the credit and the congratulations for taking a bold step. It is Al Gore who broke this barrier in American history.
And you know what it shows? It shows Al's faith in the tolerance of this diverse nation, in the basic fairness of the American people.
And I want to say to the people of America, Al Gore trusts you, which is one good reason for you to place your trust in him as the next great president of the United States.
You know yesterday, the day that the vice president asked me to be his running mate, was, to put it mildly, a miraculous day. Remember that old Beatles line, a magical mystery tour. I felt I was on a magical mystery tour yesterday. I had some -- just memorable conversations. And one of the most memorable of them was with the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
He said something to me that went to my heart. And I hope it will to yours as well. He said to me, you know, Joe, each time a barrier falls for one person, the doors of opportunity open wider for every other American.
I think we can say with certainty here in Nashville today that the American dream is alive and it is well.
You might almost say that you could call this ticket the American dream team.
Now, eight years ago -- eight years ago, the American dream was not alive and well. Remember?
And what strikes me as incredible is that today the same people who let this nation drift are trying to convince us that the last eight years have been squandered. Can you believe it?
J. LIEBERMAN: They must -- no is right.
It's unbelievable. I'll tell you this. If you're one of the 22 million people in our country who got a new job during the last eight years, you know that the last eight years were not squandered.
And if you're one of the 15 million parents in our country who got time off from work to care for a child, you know that the last eight years have not been squandered.
And if you are one of the millions and millions of families who were able to buy a new home because this Democratic administration turned their deficits into surpluses, you know the last eight years were not squandered.
The American people know from their own lives, not from the happy talk coming out of Philadelphia a week or so ago, that these last eight years have, as the vice president has said, been years of progress and prosperity.
We still have a long way to go, and the question before us today, as we begin the drive for the White House, is this: Are we going to elect the old guard...
J. LIEBERMAN: ... that created the problems? Or a new guard that will continue to work to solve America's problems and make this a better, safer, more secure country?
Well, I appreciate that answer because that's my answer to that question, too.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'd like to starve today if it wasn't for...
J. LIEBERMAN: Al Gore...
This is no contest. Al Gore is without a doubt the most qualified person to be president of the United States, I can tell you.
For the last eight years, he has served as a full partner in this administration, helping to shape this country's economic policy, its social policy, its strong foreign and defense policy, and its fight for America's working middle-class families.
As a matter of fact, as I think back to what happened in Philadelphia, and then I think of the extraordinary eight years of progress and prosperity, I'm tempted to ask the same question Vice President Bush asked in 1988: If you have to change horses in midstream, doesn't it make sense to get on the one that's going in the right direction? (LAUGHTER)
Oh, I love that line. It's the truth.
Our opponents have done all they can to blur the differences, but we're not going to let them get away with it, are we?
J. LIEBERMAN: No.
Yesterday, they even responded to the news that Al Gore had picked me by saying that George Bush and I think alike.
J. LIEBERMAN: With all due respect...
... I think that's like saying that the veterinarian and the taxidermist are in the same business because either way you get your dog back.
Yes, there is a real and important difference.
Dear friends, we have real choices to make before us that will affect our families. These are not theoretical. They're going to affect our lives and our hopes for a better country for years to come. We've got to decide which agenda is most focused on strong economic growth, with balanced budgets and middle-class tax cuts.
You know which it is. It's the Democratic agenda.
Which agenda is focused on protecting patients' rights and improving the quality of health care for all Americans, on strengthening Social Security and Medicare, and providing prescription drug benefits for my mom and every other senior citizen in America?
I'm delivering on the promise of a first-class education for every child in America...
... on supporting the teachers who make that first-class education possible for our children in America.
(APPLAUSE) ... and for continuing the great and noble and classically American work of lifting up all the families that have still been left behind in the great economic boom of the last eight years.
And let me add this, we must work and we will work, Al and Tipper, Hadassah and I, to help renew the moral center of this nation so that families can be stronger, children safer and parents empowered to pass on to their children their faith and their moral values.
I'm really getting heated up here.
Beautiful. Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
I'm getting hot, aren't I?
AUDIENCE: Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe.
J. LIEBERMAN: Thank you.
As Tipper Gore said so well, and she said it when it was so difficult to say, we're going to stand with parents across this country who are working so hard to raise PG kids in an X-rated society.
Tipper was there before it became fashionable.
Yes, there's a lot at stake in this election and, as I said, there are real differences between the two parties. And we're going to talk about those differences from this day, on. It's a choice, again, as all elections are about whether we want to go forward or whether we want to go backward.
For me, for my family, that's an easy question to answer.
And frankly, the answer comes from our history. My dad came out of high school during the Depression. He never had the chance to go to college. His first job was on a bakery truck. He'd get on it at night in New Haven; he'd ride it down to the bakery in Bridgeport. He'd work all night in the bakery, and then ride the truck back as it made its stops delivering the baked goods, finally dropping him off at home where he slept a few hours and back to work that night. I've got to tell you that later in my life, sometimes even in political campaigns, or even in my work in government, when I felt like we'd been working hard, I would think back to my dad's labor and my dad's example and the long hours he put in, literally working from 9 to 9. He worked so very hard to send my two sisters and me to college. And he gave us a chance to become our hopes and our dreams. And that is what the American dream is all about.
I tell you my friends that somewhere in America right now -- and probably many in this crowd today, there are another father or mother working just as hard to give their children a better life. And I tell you today that they deserve a leader who hears their voice.
They deserve to have a government that is on their side. They deserve to have a president who will stand up for them. They deserve the leadership of Al Gore of Tennessee.
It was nearly a century and a half ago that another great son of Tennessee, Andrew Jackson, remarked on the nature of leadership, and he said that one man with courage makes a majority.
Today, Al Gore is one man with courage that will serve the American people well when they elect him to be our next president.
I have talked about my dad. I know that my dad would be extremely proud of me today. I know my mom who, thank God is here, is.
I don't know that even they even dreamed that this day would arrive. I can tell you, I never did. But I do think that, as they raised us, my mom and dad knew that in this country, as in no other in the world, today's hopes and aspirations can and do become tomorrow's realities.
And I know...
I know that as good as life in America as become during the last eight years, Al Gore -- and no one else is close -- Al Gore is America's best hope for an even better future.
... let us go forward to build that better future.
God bless you. God bless America.
WOODRUFF: And with those remarks, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman accepting his -- the invitation of Al Gore to be his running mate, to be the nominee of the Democratic Party for vice president.
Our own John King is there in Nashville.
John, it seems in these remarks not only does Joe Lieberman mention the breakthrough nature of this selection, the fact that he's the first Jewish-American to be put on a major party ticket, he also touched on the integrity of Al Gore, a theme we're hearing from the Republicans, and also answered some of the very direct criticisms that the Republicans leveled at their convention last week in Philadelphia.
KING: He certainly did, Judy, right out of the box. We saw the main reason, we're told by sources, that the vice president settled on Joe Lieberman. There is what the polls just call a Clinton fatigue out there and the Republicans, throughout their convention, tried to link the vice president to the president, President Clinton's personal failings.
You heard from Joe Lieberman this direct quote: "He has never wavered in his responsibilities as a father, a husband and a servant of God. Those are the qualities that make him a great man and will make him a great president."
So no mention of President Clinton here, although Senator Lieberman did promote the economic record of the past eight years. Clearly, though, with this choice, the vice president signaling his separation from the president on matters of personal values while trying to share in the credit of the successes of the Clinton administration on economics and other issues.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King there in Nashville at War Memorial Plaza in downtown Nashville.
Now let's go halfway across the country -- well, actually not so far. Maybe several states south and west, to Texas, to the capital city of Austin, where our Candy Crowley has been with the Bush campaign.
Candy, what are they saying about the choice of Joe Lieberman?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're not that far, but it's a lot quieter here. Basically, what they're doing, as one aide said, was to let the dust settle. What they're saying about Joe Lieberman today is what they said yesterday when the choice was made known, and that is that this is a good man with a lot of integrity.
They continue to point out that, in his public remarks, Joe Lieberman, in the recent past, has opened the door to partial privatization of Social Security, something that Al Gore has beat up George Bush on a lot. They point that out. They point out that Joe Lieberman was also for social -- for, I'm sorry, school voucher pilot program. That's something that Al Gore has also attacked George Bush on.
So they are pointing those sorts of things out.
Remember, coming into here we went on what they called the "change the tone tour." So they're trying to walk a fine line here, saying this is a good man, and, oh, look, he votes more in line with George Bush's policies than Al Gore's on these main items. Without attacking Joe Lieberman, they try, then, to get at Al Gore. That's sort of been the basic stance. I think you'll see that continue.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff Greenfield, Bill Schneider also with us here in the studio.
Jeff, I guess a more spirited performance there by Senator Lieberman than I think his reputation would have us believe.
GREENFIELD: Yes, Joe Lieberman, in his first years in the Senate, did have actually the same kind of reputation that sometimes dogs Al Gore: kind of a plodder. And, you know, for the last 10 years, he's been a regular on Don Imus' morning radio show where a sense of humor is considered absolutely indispensable.
And I think you heard, actually, some kind of homey political lines as when he said, comparing me and George W. Bush is like comparing a veterinarian to a taxidermist, because either way you get your dog back.
Joe Lieberman does have this quality of wit. And I think it would be really helpful, particularly given the reputation of Al Gore, if Lieberman uses that a lot in the fall.
WOODRUFF: And Bill Schneider, we heard John King make the point -- stress the point that Bill Clinton's name didn't come up anywhere.
SCHNEIDER: Nope, didn't hear a word about Bill Clinton, which is interesting, because not only did Clinton pick Al Gore, but Clinton worked for or with Joe Lieberman in his very first campaign for the Connecticut state Senate back in 1970 when Clinton was at Yale Law School. So, you know, they have -- Clinton and Lieberman have a long history.
Clinton's name didn't come up. Instead, they talked about the record of eight years of prosperity, of progress in this administration. Lieberman asked the question that the senior George Bush asked in 1988 when he was running for president: If you have to change horses in midstream, doesn't it make sense to get on one that's going in, as he put it, the right direction? He didn't say the same direction. He said, you want a horse that's going in the right direction.
So what they did was link themselves to the Clinton record, but never to Clinton personally, because they want -- the point of picking Joe Lieberman was to make a clean break.
WOODRUFF: A bit of a delicate walk they're walking.
GREENFIELD: Well, one other point is to stress the centrism. You know, Joe Lieberman, as Al Gore, comes from the Democratic Leadership Council wing of the party. And look at what they cited: Welfare reform; Al Gore cited the balanced budget; and he referred to two lonely Democratic voice in favor of the Persian Gulf War, Lieberman and Gore were two of only 10 Democratic senators who voted with President Bush in '91. So they are clearly aiming, in some sense, right for the middle.
WOODRUFF: Candy Crowley, you're still with us.
CROWLEY: I am. One of the things I wanted to point out here on the whole idea of picking a centrist. One of the things that the Bush camp is stressing at this point, is they are watching the Nader vote very carefully.
They believe, that like the Republican convention, the Democratic convention will be full of people that are to the left, as the Republicans were to the right of their party. That those delegates, on the liberal wing, may be more enticed by Ralph Nader as a result of the Joe Lieberman vote. So, strategically, they are kind of looking at that vote.
I don't know, Bill could probably tell you better where it is. But they think that, in certain respects, the Lieberman centrist record may solidify the Nader vote, which may in fact hurt Gore in important places like California. So on a strategic front, that's what they are looking at now and paying very close attention to the Nader vote.
WOODRUFF: That's right, Bill, in sending the message that Gore is a man who is bold and can take risks by choosing the first Jewish American, he has also chosen someone who is more in the center ideologically, and who does not help him with the Democratic base that he desperately needs to win this election.
SCHNEIDER: I don't think that the Democratic base would disagree with the number of votes and positions that Joe Lieberman has taken. But I don't think they are going to complain too much because of the boldness of this choice.
We have to be very careful in talking about Joe Lieberman. One other thing he did today that was very revealing. I've been looking at trends in American politics, public opinion for 30 years now. The single biggest trend has been that religious Americans of all faiths, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish, have drifting towards the Republicans; non-religious Americans towards the Democrats.
If you are listening to Joe Lieberman's remarks right now, he talked about restoring religious values to public life. He used the religion-infused language that we don't usually hear from Democrats. We often here it from Republicans, and even people on the religious right.
He endorses a lot of positions that religious leaders on the right have endorsed, like a moment of silence, school vouchers. He makes the ending of religious persecution by other countries an explicit goal of American international policy. And fights obscenity in the arts and entertainment media.
This is an area where he intends to be outspoken. It seems strange for a man, you know, to bring up religion in this context. But he wants to be a leader to restore religious values to American public discourse.
WOODRUFF: That is right. Clearly, he is very comfortable with quoting the bible. He quoted from the Book of Chronicles. He, in effect, said a prayer there, as he began remarks.
And I was also struck, John King, if you could join us again on this, that his wife Hadassah Lieberman spoke before he did. She clearly very moved by the selection of her husband as a Jewish American. She talked about her own parents, her mother having been the daughter of a Holocaust survivors. This is a -- this is historic.
KING: Historic and quite emotional, Judy. We're told, not only back in Connecticut yesterday, when they received the word, but when they had dinner with the Gores here last night, that there was emotion in the air throughout.
The staff of the Gore campaign, learning some of the personal history, not only of Senator Lieberman, but of his wife, Hadassah, as well, in the past 24 hours. A great deal of emotion here for the new ticket.
And much like Tipper Gore and Al Gore were viewed as double assets in 1992, the Gore campaign saying Sen. Lieberman's wife, look for her to be out on the campaign trail as well. She's viewed as an energetic and an active campaigner, somebody, who much like we saw Hillary Clinton and Tipper Gore go their separate ways in 1992, in a very hard-fought campaign, look for both of these -- the spouses of the candidates here to campaign on their own as well.
WOODRUFF: Jeff, Jeff Greenfield, as we continue to watch Al Gore and Joe Lieberman work the crowd here in Nashville. There are -- we've been talking about the in fact in the last few minutes that there are going to be some votes where Al Gore and Lieberman disagree. One of you mentioned school vouchers. You know, this was something that Gore went after Bill Bradley for in the primaries. And he has chosen a running made who, in essence, agrees with Bill Bradley. IN fact, even voted more for them.
GREENFIELD: Yes, I think you are seeing in play here one of the oldest in political axioms which goes: That was then. This is now.
You're absolutely right that Bill Bradley was really eviscerated by Gore for kind of betraying the central tenants of the Democratic base by thinking about -- even thinking about, experimenting with vouchers. But, you know, this is the difference between running in a primary, when you appeal to the base, and running in a general election, when you have to appeal to the middle.
You know, you want to go back to Franklin Roosevelt and John Nance Garner or John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, or for that matter Ronald Reagan and George Bush and his voodoo economics.
We are seeing here I think the reaffirmation of one of the great principles of American politics. When you get your party together, you are going for people who are not loyal party members, and expanding your message is a good thing.
WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, I want to finally come back to you with a question that we really began all this with a little over an hour ago. In sending -- in choosing Joe Lieberman, and saying I am trying to separate myself from the president, how successful can Al Gore be? Because can't the Bush campaign run ads of what Lieberman said about President Clinton on the floor of the Senate.
SCHNEIDER: Look, Al Gore can't completely separate himself from Bill Clinton. He was chosen by Bill Clinton. Everyone knows that, if you elect Al Gore, you are voting for basically continuity with the last eight years. They advertise that fact.
What he knows -- and it has got to be delicately done -- is that Americans do not want a change of direction in the country. They feel happy, prosperous, the world is at peace for the most part. They want a change of leadership.
So what he is saying is, we will give you the change of leadership that is not tied in a personal way to Bill Clinton, but we won't change the direction in which things are going. That has got to be carefully done.
But, in the end, Al Gore can never completely separate himself from Bill Clinton, and it is probably not wise for him to do much more than he's done today by picking Joe Lieberman and not mentioning Bill Clinton.
WOODRUFF: Fascinating that, at one point, Joe Lieberman said: Are we going to elect the old guard that created the problems, or a new guard that will continue the work of solving them? Clearly this is an election, as I guess you could say all elections are, about who represents the future and who represents the past.
I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Thanks to all of our correspondents, our analysts for joining us.
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