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Special Event

Election 2000: Lieberman Accuses Bush of Changing the Tune About Changing the Tone

Aired August 31, 2000 - 2:24 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to head on up to Westlake Park in Seattle, Washington, where the Democratic candidates for the White House are speaking to a rally in the local park there. We're also awaiting the president at the White House to be signing his veto pen to the repeal of the estate tax. We'll be covering that live.

First, though, Joe Lieberman.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And do you know that three years ago they named my first grandchild Tennessee Lieberman?

(LAUGHTER)

This ticket must have been in the stars somewhere.

(LAUGHTER)

Now, I haven't mentioned this to Al, and it may be a little personal in this public setting, but my wife Hadassah and I are kind of hoping that one of the future Gore grandchildren will be named Connecticut Gore.

(LAUGHTER)

Great to be here. You know, as I stand here today and look out at the faces of the children in this audience, including the faces of the beautiful children from the Seattle Indian Center, I know what this election is all about.

(APPLAUSE)

You remember the great Yogi Berra? He's the only New York Yankee I can quote here today.

(LAUGHTER)

Yogi Berra once said, "When you come to a fork in the road take it."

(LAUGHTER) Well, my friends, America is at a fork in the road; we've got some choices to make. But this election is honestly not about us or our opponents; it's about you, your families and your future.

Our opponents are decent and honorable men. We are not going to engage in personal attacks against them during this campaign. Al Gore and I promise you that.

(APPLAUSE)

But we are going to talk about their records and their ideas. That's what an election is about. And we have two very different visions of America's future.

Over the past eight years, we as a nation have worked so very hard to turn the biggest deficits in history into the biggest surpluses. And the question now is, how will we use those surpluses that all of us have worked so hard to earn and put together? Our opponents want to give it all away in an enormous tax cut that, I'm sad to say, mostly benefits the wealthy.

Now, look, there's nothing wrong with being rich. In America we all want to be rich, don't we? But when you've got a surplus, doesn't it make sense to give most to those who have least and least to those who have most?

(APPLAUSE)

Well, I can tell you that Al Gore and I want to use that surplus to benefit all of America's hard-working middle-class families, not just to enrich a privileged few. We want to use that surplus to continue to grow the economy and expand the winner's circle to bring more Americans into it. We want to do what most every American family and business would do at a time of prosperity, and that is to use some of the surplus to pay down the debt so we save our children from the burden of interest payments. Isn't that right?

(APPLAUSE)

We want to use some of the rest of it for middle-class tax cuts to help you put your child through college or pay for long-term care for your parents who need it. That's the way we ought to use this surplus that we've earned.

(APPLAUSE)

And then we're going to invest the rest of it in America's future: in education, in health care. Our opponents, frankly, don't have any money left over after that big tax cut to put into the things that you need for your future: better education for our children and better health care for all Americans.

Al Gore and I think it's time to extend the Children's Health Insurance Program to cover every single child in America, and give us a chance and we will.

(APPLAUSE)

Al Gore and I think it's time to use our hard-earned success to save and strengthen the future of Social Security and Medicare, and give us a chance and we will.

(APPLAUSE)

And, my friends, any of you who have parents or have older friends know that we think it's time to expand the Medicare program to help every senior citizen in America pay the skyrocketing cost of the prescription drugs their doctors are telling them they need, and give us a chance, dear lady, and we will.

(APPLAUSE)

And we think it's time to take the life-and-death medical decisions away from the bureaucrats and give them back to the doctors and the nurses, and give us a chance and we will.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, look, it's a good thing that our opponents are talking about something that they call a patients' bill of rights, but look at the details and it really isn't.

Their plan leaves out more than 135 million Americans, and that's just plain wrong. Al Gore will tell you in a moment our plan covers all Americans and leaves nobody behind.

Dear friends, for the past two weeks, I've been calling for an honest debate on the issues, even as, I'm sorry to say, the Bush campaign continues to twist the facts. I'm very sad to tell you that today, rather than focusing on the serious issues before our country, our opponents have hit the airwaves with paid, political, negative, personal attack ads, and that's wrong.

(APPLAUSE)

Today I'm sorry to say that Governor Bush's promise to change the tone of American politics has run into the reality of a troubled Bush- Cheney campaign.

(APPLAUSE)

Because these new attack ads break his promise not to launch personal attacks in this campaign, and they drag us back to the worst politics of the past. It seems to me today that Governor Bush has sadly changed his tune about changing the tone.

Think about this. As my dear friend and colleague John McCain said earlier this year, our opponents aren't prepared to invest a penny in Medicare or Social Security, and certainly not the kind of money we need to extend prescription drug benefits to the seniors, but they're spending millions on negative personal attack ads.

It is your choice, America. Will you support the candidate who's talking about issues or are you going to support the candidate who's launching personal attacks?

Right.

Let me ask you all here this question: Do you want Al Gore as the next president of the United States?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

LIEBERMAN: Absolutely right. Al is best for America's future. And Al said it best. Our whole future is at stake in this election. We can't waste this moment of opportunity with the politics of personal attacks. Al Gore and I are committed to campaign on the issues. You have a right to know where we stand on the issues so you can judge for yourself.

And let me say it again: This is not about us or our opponents; it's about you and your future. We are running this race to fight for you and every family in the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

WATERS: That's Joe Lieberman in Seattle with the vice president at a rally in Westlake Park, commenting specifically on the ads being released tomorrow by the Bush campaign. Lieberman calling them paid political personal attack ads and that the promise to change the tone of the campaign by the Bush people has been broken. It seems, he said, that George Bush has changed his tune about changing the tone.

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