Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Lieberman Campaign Kicks Into Gear

Joe Lieberman's campaign for the U.S. Senate nomination is moving forward as the senator's first ad hit the airwaves:
Facing a challenge from the Democratic left, the first commercial of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's re-election campaign casts him as a fighter of "big-oil Republicans."
The ad is the first in a series that is expected to emphasize Lieberman's progressive credentials and his battles with the GOP, a departure for a Democratic senator who has prided himself as a leading bipartisan voice in Congress.(Pazniokas)

The Lamont campaign dismissed the ad and suggested that its very existence is good news for them:
"It's clear to me that Sen. Lieberman is trying to inoculate himself for voting in favor of Dick Cheney's energy bill," said Lamont's campaign manager, Tom Swann. "It also shows that he is worried that we're for real." (Pazniokas)

At this point I don't think anyone is disputing that Ned Lamont is for real. He seems on pace to win the required 15% at the upcoming Democratic convention to be on the primary ballot in August.

I sat down today with Sean Smith, Joe Lieberman's campaign manager, to talk with him about the race.

The Lamont campaign seems to be gaining in momentum, and is attracting Democrats who are very angry with Senator Lieberman. When asked about the cause of this anger, Smith said that he believes that the cause lies not with Lieberman himself, but with Democratic anger towards the Bush Administration.

"They can't beat Joe Lieberman in a primary; but they can beat George Bush," he said, referring to the claim that Lieberman is too close to the Administration. The association with Bush that Lamont and others have drawn is one the campaign is hoping to turn around.

Smith also believes that the recent favorable media attention Lamont has recieved will not last.

"This is a time when any challenger enjoys something like a honeymoon period as they arrive on the political scene," Smith said. "He's been able to generate the coverage that he should at this stage."

But Smith believes that honeymoon period will soon end.

"Lamont is having his best days now," he said.


Pazniokas, Mark. "Senator Starts On-Air Campaign." Hartford Courant 29 March, 2006.


Genghis Conn said...

For those of you who have asked why the Lieberman campaign doesn't release its schedule, I asked this as well. Smith told me that they do send out press releases, but that most of their meetings are "...meetings where we're trying to speak to delegates."

This quote didn't really fit with the rest of the story, so I'm including it here.

Anonymous said...

Lieberman has more allies than one might think, including key components of the DeStefano supporters. It is interesting and instructive to see the way loyalty determines who gets support.

Lamont needs 241 delegates to force the primary. That seems achievable, but by no means certain, even according to some Lamont supporters.

So Lamont and his slice of the party come out of the convention with, let's say, 19% of the delegates. At this point, does it make sense to primary? Even the gubernatorial nomination loser will be asked to bow out (but won't). And without the full support of at least the unions, or a substantial corps of elected officials, how will Lamont and company justify this?

We'll have to wait for a full discussion, most of the Dems are at the JJB I suspect.

Aldon Hynes said...

FYI, the JJB dinner is tomorrow night (Thursday, the 30th), not tonight (Wednesday the 29th).

I imagine the dinner tomorrow night will be pretty interesting as will be the convention.

I had been saying that was expecting the convention to be particularly exciting, but as we get closer, I'm having my doubts. I suspect it will be interesting the the party insiders, horse race fans, and tea leaf readers, which is probably why I've been so interested in it.

However, I suspect that with the way things are lining up, it may not have much of an effect other than in determining who is on the first line of the ballot and who is on the second line.

Sure, that will be more interesting than other conventions, but will it really have a big effect?

What do the rest of you think?

Anonymous said...

Itis ironic that Lieberman seems to think the US Congress ought to dictate to Alaska (4428 miles from Hartford) that its energy resources can;t be used, only to find the same federal laws cause LNG terminals to get located in his beloved Long Island Sound

Now that Richard Blumenthal has dusted off Jefferson Davis and rediscovered "state's rights", maybe we ought to realise other states have rights, too

Anonymous said...

Ah, there you are Aldon. Care to take a piece out of Suzie Voigt as promised?

Anonymous said...

As a republican, just loving sitting back and watching the cat fight.

Please, keep at it for a few months anyway.

MikeCT said...

I am in awe of the Lamont media operation. You can hear today's national NPR story and WTIC interview (and others) on the Lamont resource page. An extraordinary amount of other news on the Lamont Blog and Left Nutmeg sites, as usual.

Lamont already has announced more than 10% of the delegates he needs (and I'm sure there are others unannounced). I have no doubt that Lieberman will get what he needs, but as far as I know his campaign hasn't announced any. Simply getting enough delegates will be the story for Lamont - he doesn't need a majority to legitimate his candidacy.

If you didn't see Colin McEnroe's post about this, you must hear how Colin's interview with Lieberman has been turned into a dance mix!

In totally unrelated and equally hysterical news, if you did not catch Colin & Bruce's interview (mp3 file) with Republican Gubernatorial candidate Alexander Kanevsky, you must hear it! He's an entertaining character who really must make the talk show circuit. (More on Kanevsky's colorful "campaign" and history from the New Haven Advocate.)

Anonymous said...

Malloy's been on the phone to Delegates distancing himself from Lieberman.

If Stamford Delegates aren't allowed to vote their conscience and are forced to vote in block for Lieberman it's going to cost Malloy dearly.

Anonymous said...

I thought it more than an editorial accident that Colin and Bruce had Howard Dean, Kanevsky, and Lamont on at the same time.

You have the power!
Ned Lamont... Ned LaMONT... Ned LAMONT

Aldon Hynes said...

Anon(9:21) From what I've read, the New Haven convention went relatively smoothly. Paul Bass didn't have any reports of Susie gesticulating madly from the sidelines or calling a special meeting when her opponents couldn't make it. If something like that did happen, please let me know.

I will say, again based on Paul's report, that I am disappointed that 'Confusion ensued about how to go about casting ballots for the two slates.' I would have preferred it if Susie and others running the meeting had been better prepared.

I do believe that Cordelia Thorpe has a valid point that ward co-chairs should have been given preference over people selected because of their loyalty to the home town candidate, and I probably would have voted for her slate instead of Susie's.

However, there is a very big difference between what happened in Hartford and what happened in New Haven. In Hartford, people who were on the party's slate voted against their own slate. In New Haven, people who were on the challenging slate withdrew their names from the challenging slate.

So yes, Susie did a less than stellar job, IMHO, but it was a very long shot from what Perez did in Hartford.

Anonymous said...

If Stamford delegates, blah blah blah

Lieberman's support is Lieberman's support. It has nothing to do with concience. It has something to do with conscious.

You kids are so cute though.

MikeCT said...

Almost forgot the extraordinary endorsement of Lamont by the editorial page editor of the Journal Inquirer.

Lieberman's support is Lieberman's support. It has nothing to do with concience. (sic)

Truer words were never said. You should go to work for Sean Smith.

Scarce said...

Sean Smith helped raise the profile of Ned Lamont in Connecticut and even nationally with his cries of an angry, single-issue candidate (violating the first rule of political campaigns, drawing attention to a virtual unknown candidate: bad idea), would now have us believe that Connecticut voters will not buy into the Lieberman-Bush association the Lamont campaign will likely emphasize. That remains to be seen but it is certainly telling that Smith would pinpoint their own defensiveness (weakness) on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Genghis, did you ask Sean Smith if he is from Connecticut?

Genghis Conn said...

Sean is originally from Oregon, but recently moved to Connecticut because of his wife's job at Yale. He actually took the Lieberman job after deciding to move here.

Anonymous said...

If you speak to Mr. Smith again, Sen. Lieberman's absence from all 18 of the Connecticut memorial services for those lost in Iraq has been noticed.

Proud Moderate Dem said...

MikeCT, since you are so in awe of Lamont, perhaps you can tell me specific policy ideas he has because evey time i have seen him, there is mostly generalities. I look forward to your response.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sean--
The anger is indeed with Lieberman, and not just Bush.

Since Fuddy Duddy obviously doesn't get it, maybe you can help him understand. When he is publicly friends with William Buckley, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Roger Ailes, etc. -- the blood of real Democrats start to boil.

Sean Hannity loves Joe and wants to do a fundraiser for him? This democrat responds, F--- Joe Lieberman.

Ditto on the Iraq Experiment. If Matt Lieberman was over there fighting with our troops, and/or if Joe had ever served himself, I might give his insane foreign policy views a pass. Instead Joey is a classic chickenhawk, long on bravado and short on common-sense.

Your campaign will be built on lies, not truth. We all know that. So bring it on, buddy. Give it your best Karl Rove.

Anonymous said...

Lieberman was always great on women's issues, until it mattered. Then he failed to join Dodd and Clinton, Kerry and Kennedy, in their attempt to filibuster Alito.

Now Joe hopes people will believe he's "good on the environment". What a laugh. He votes for Bush's energy bill, (Dodd didn't), giving FERN complete control of whether Broadwater happens or not. Heck, Lieberman even took Broadwater money! And now he puts out this big lie that he is against the LNG facility?

And oh yeah, the bankruptcy bill, that Lieberman "voted against". But wait, on the important cloture vote, Joe voted for the credit card industry!

You've got a great candidate there, proud moderate Dem!

Proud Moderate Dem said...

my dear 1:02 Anon, do the Math. we need to focus on getting 51 dems in the Senate so we have a chance of wining the important votes and moving forward instead of pinning our best hopes of trying to cause a filibuster in a Senate that has a 55 R's.

Anonymous said...


Your man and his ilk have done such harm to this country. Not just the war, but with regards to the Supreme Court.

What did Joe say? Alito wasn't extraordinary circumstances? Shame on him.

Proud Moderate Dem said...

anon, please explain to me how joe voting for the filibuster would have stopped alito? we need to quit crying about lost, hopeless filibuster efforts and working towards having 51 dems in the senate so we can make votes that actually matter and further pray every day that justice stevens makes it another 3 years and we elect mark warner president in 2008.

Anonymous said...

Talk about Hopeless efforts? How about maintaining order in Iraq!

Opposing Alito, not appeasing the pro-life movement, would have done more to promote national democratic goals.

Anonymous said...

Who the heck is Ken?

MikeCT said...


I said that I was in awe of Lamont's media operation, which has been phenomenally successful. I don't think I have ever been in awe of a candidate. I do think he's become an impressive spokesperson in interviews - better than most pols.

I also wish Lamont would offer more specifics and have said so here in the past. Other supporters and I have expressed this to the campaign, and they have promised issues pages on the Web site. However, I've also seen most other major Democratic candidates in the state, and most are vague and did not respond to my questions with a lot of substance. It frustrates me, but that's our political culture.

I don't think Lamont is a policy wonk, and I don't agree with him on every issue. But I do think Joe is an awful, arrogant and dangerous Senator, and I agree with Lamont's critiques and agree with most of the general positions he has taken. I look forward to more specific proposals.

Anonymous said...

I've also noticed that the Governor's race and the Senate race seem to be aligned in the sense that supporters of DeStefano (establishment pol) and Malloy (populist) also seem to be supporters of Joe (status quo) and Ned (reformer) respectively.

Has anyone else noticed this trend? And does anyone know where our 24 State Senators stand?

12:57 said...

No, it seems like the most vocal DeStefano supporters at least are the most ardent Lamont supporters, and also were Dean supporters. A big question on that though is whether any union support will materialize for Lamont. They seem to be neutral or Lieberman at least so far.