Joe Lieberman: Republican Posterboy

Out with Rumsfeld, in with the senator from Connecticut?

Washington, D.C.—If Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld retires and gets replaced by Democratic senator Joe Lieberman—the hot speculation here this week—what would America get out of the deal? Well, another hawk who never went to war, for one thing.

And what would President Bush get? A wedge to keep the Democrats from uniting behind Representative John Murtha against the war in Iraq. Here's a look at Lieberman, Republican posterboy:

Nickname: The Senator

A/K/A: "Trent Lott and Tom DeLay's favorite Democrat,"—Lott spokesman to John Czwartacki

Home: New Haven, Connecticut

Family: Married to Hadassah Lieberman. Three children

Career profile:

1970: wins Connecticut state senate seat 1983-88: state attorney general 1988: Becomes U.S. senator, defeating Lowell Weicker by 50-49. Re-elected three times Chair of Democratic Leadership Conference

Committee assignments:

Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee Chair of its subcommittee on Clean Air, Wetlands, and Private Property Armed Services Committee Chaired subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities

Key Positions:

For abortion rights For welfare reform For cutting the capital gains tax For environmental programs For both Gulf wars For using force to take out Manuel Noriega For free trade with China

Author of five books, including "The Power Broker," a biography of the late Democratic Party chair John Bailey, and "The Scorpion and the Tarantula," which deals with nuclear proliferation.

Big victory: Getting the childproofing V-Chip made standard for new TVs

Military record: Educational deferment as undergrad and grad student during Vietnam war 1960-67. On graduating at age 25, he qualified for family deferment. He was married and had one child.

Voted for Alberto Gonzalez for attorney general, and Condoleezza Rice for Secretary of State

Member of Gang of 14—Senate group behind compromise on controlling filibusters

Unwanted award: Nominated for the Democratic Hall of Shame, 2005

Enemy of: Gangsta rap and other dirty songs; also violent video games; and Hollywood debauchery

Leading campaign contributors: Pro-Israel groups, real estate interests, venture capital outfits

Invented phrase: “Dean Depression,” during the 2004 Democratic primary, to describe what would happen to the American economy if the dreadful Howard Dean got elected president.

Last made Democrats mad: Tuesday, when he backed Bush's Iraq plan, saying, "It is a plan that has resulted from trial and, yes, many errors. It describes the strategy, the tactics, that I saw in Iraq two weeks ago and that I believe are creating progress there."

Quotable quotes:

On Dean:
"I worry that he cannot win. . . . The positions that Gov. Dean has taken . . . threaten to take us back to the pre-Clinton time when the Democratic Party was in the political wilderness for the better part of two decades."

"If Howard Dean has his way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power today, not in prison, and the world would be a more dangerous place.”

On Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky:
"It is not just inappropriate. It is immoral. And it is harmful, for it sends a message of what is acceptable behavior to the larger American family."

Al Gore's endorsement: "I wanted someone who could work with me as a partner, someone who shares my values and believes in the promise of America. I wanted someone who would fight right alongside me for the people and not the powerful. Joe Lieberman has the experience and the integrity, he has the courage and the commitment, and for all of his public life, Joe Lieberman has stood for working families. No one is better prepared to be vice president of the United States of America."

 
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