The Politics Junkie: Smile, Joe

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Everybody leads with Lieberman, who says he heard about it on the news. NYT and WP lead hard with the selection, but disagree on which goes higher — the Jew factor or the Clinton factor. NYT leads Jewish. USAT leads frankly with "Who Is Joe Lieberman?"; WSJ doesn't ask, just tells. Two neat profiles for the hasty study.

And who is he for Gore? A Cheney counter, reports NYT's Katharine Q. Seelye: "Gore aides said Mr. Lieberman brought a sense of moral rectitude to the ticket as well as a seriousness of purpose, qualities that Mr. Gore was intent on seeking after Gov. George W. Bush, his Republican rival, chose Dick Cheney, the former secretary of defense, as his running mate." WP's Ceci Connolly says the pick of the "two-term 'New Democrat'" means "Gore was clearly aiming at the centrist voters who hold the balance of power in modern presidential elections."

USAT's Kathy Kiely is awed at Gore's open arms — the veep "has shattered one of the last remaining cultural barriers in American politics, putting a Jew on a major party's national political ticket for the first time." WSJ's trio says he's a family-values centrist with a taste for bucking party interests; this tickles the WSJ pink. "Al Gore is gambling that precisely such a background adds up to a formula for beating George W. Bush."


NYT, WP finish the job with profiles. NYT heds him "A Man of Steady Habits," by Robert D. McFadden, with the Monica rebuke of his old friend topping the anecdotes. WP's "Putting Faith in Practical Politics," by a twin bill, leads with Lieberman's vote to acquit. USAT, which led its topping profile with a 1988 story of Gore's bailing out the rookie Lieberman one Sabbath, fills out with five stories on the many angles of Joe Lieberman. WSJ gets on with the business news.

Polite Expressions for Possible Voter Xenophobia...

"The Gore campaign portrayed the selection of Mr. Lieberman as a bold choice because of its historical nature in naming the first Jew to a national ticket, but questions were raised early on and again last night about whether Mr. Lieberman's religion would work against him." —NYT's Seelye

"He is also taking presidential politics into uncharted waters: Lieberman and his wife, Hadassah, are Orthodox Jews who strictly observe the Jewish Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. How Lieberman will juggle the rigorous duties of faith with his campaign responsibilities remains to be seen, as will the reaction of voters to the novelty of a Jew on a national ticket." —WP's Connolly

"But outside Washington, Lieberman's selection is being hailed as a breakthrough that will test the nation's religious tolerance as it has not been tested since 1960, when John F. Kennedy became the first Catholic elected to the White House. —USAT's Kiely

"But just as with recent candidacies by some black political figures, it represents a wild card at a time when Mr. Gore has hopes of competing in such conservative-leaning Southern states as Georgia, Arkansas and Louisiana... there is at least some risk, which no pollster can quantify, that Sen. Lieberman could widen the cultural distance between the Democratic campaign and swing voters in some targeted states." —WSJ, which adds: "At the same time, there's little obvious political advantage in pandering to Jewish voters."

... And Sure Voter Boredom

"uncertainty about his ability to add some pizazz on the campaign trail" —WP

"Mr. Lieberman is widely viewed as a soporific speaker who's ill-equipped to level the sort of hard-edged partisan attacks that have been a traditional part of a vice presidential nominee's portfolio" —WSJ

Two Cents

"Miracles happen... We said a short prayer together." —Lieberman, on getting the Gore call.

"This will change the world." —Wiesenthal Center founder Rabbi Marvin Hier, who called Gore's pick of Lieberman "the political equivalent of landing a man on the moon." (NYT)

"I just hope... Mr. Gore and the Democratic party will be even-handed in the peace process." —Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi. (USAT)

"You can't measure it today because it's something people will work through... Some people who don't consider themselves anti-Semites will turn this over in their minds a lot of times." —Democratic pollster Geoff Garin. (WSJ)

"Jewishness is a plus, not a minus... This country is more than ready for a Jewish president. The fact that he is a serious Jew... would only enhance his standing as a candidate with most Southern Baptists because it shows he is a person who cares deeply about his faith and brings that understanding to his handling of public policy issues." —Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. (USAT)

"He conveys a very serious purpose." —former secretary of state Warren Christopher (NYT)

"If he were an Episcopalian, he'd be a shoo-in." —ex-Philly mayor Ed Rendell, before the choice. (USAT)

Polls, Schmolls

Follow the Bouncing Bounce

A Washington Post-ABC News survey of registered voters finds Bush with "his biggest lead" at 54 percent to 40 percent. "Two weeks ago, Bush and Gore were in a virtual dead heat, with Bush claiming 48 percent of the vote and Gore 45 percent." (WP)

A USAT/CNN/Gallup Poll is shocked to find that "George Bush's lead has almost disappeared among registered voters." Bush is now up a negligible two points, at 45 percent to 43 percent. "That's down from 19 points among registered voters in a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll conducted Friday and Saturday." (USAT)

The difference, apparently, is the presence of Lieberman on the ticket, in USAT poll. The hed: "Voters React Well to Lieberman." I'll say.

Wait till the left finds out they've been left again.