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Gore Selects Sen. Lieberman as Vice Pres. Running Mate; Republicans Praise Choice for Similarities with BushAired August 7, 2000 - 8:23 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: The big news of the day is that Al Gore has chosen his running mate, and it is 58-year-old Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman.
So what is the reaction by the Republicans, the Bush-Cheney ticket?
Well, CNN's Chris Black is on the road in Austin, Texas with the George W. Bush campaign.
What do they think, Chris?
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol.
Well, it's still very early here in Austin Texas. The governor just got back late last night from his victory lap after the successful Republican National Convention. But the first reaction from the Bush campaign this morning to Al Gore's pick for a vice presidential candidate is, he's a good man, and it's nice that Al Gore picked someone who agrees with Governor Bush on so many issues.
Now, clearly, they're exaggerating a little bit, but the first thing they point to is that Joe Lieberman has supported -- support for school vouchers, private school vouchers for poor children.
Now, Lieberman's support is quite more narrow than the governor of Texas. He supports an experimental program to help poor children as a temporary measure to get out of bad schools.
But they are using this choice of Joe Lieberman as a way to raise questions about Al Gore's sincerity. A spokesman for the Bush campaign said, how sincere could Al Gore be in his criticism of the insurance and prescription drug companies when Joe Lieberman has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years for pharmaceutical industries. Lieberman also, obviously, as a senator from Connecticut, just like his senior colleague, Chris Dodd, has represented many of those drugs companies in Connecticut in the United States Senate.
That said, Lieberman's a tough target for the Bush campaign because he is head of the moderate Democrats in the United States Senate, head of the Democratic Leadership Conference, which is a moderate group of Democrats that was created after Walter Mondale lost to Ronald Reagan in 1984.
But yesterday, even before this selection was known, Karen Hughes, the communications director for the Bush campaign, said it didn't matter who Al Gore picked because none of them could measure up to Dick Cheney in terms of national reputation and stature -- Carol.
LIN: Chris, do you think it's going to make it harder, though, for Bush and Cheney to link Gore to President Clinton, as they had tried to do throughout the GOP convention?
BLACK: Well, there's no question that that's part of Joe Lieberman's appeal. Joe Lieberman was literally the first Democratic senator to go to the floor of the Senate in early September of 1988 to chastise his friend, the president, for his personal behavior.
Joe Lieberman's a deeply religious man. He has a reputation for impeccable probity, for moral rectitude, and it does make it a little tougher to make that case.
They're trying to muddy the water, Carol, they're trying to muddy the issue distinctions between the Bush and the Gore campaigns by saying that Lieberman is very much like George Bush, which, as somebody who covers Joe Lieberman, I can tell you, he's no George Bush.
LIN: Thanks so much. Chris Black, in Austin, Texas with George W. Bush's campaign.
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