Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Lieberman's Risky Ads
By Howard Kurtz - Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman launched his first television ads of the presidential campaign yesterday, but he wound up delivering a mixed message on Iraq.

In one of two spots airing in New Hampshire, the Connecticut Democrat, sitting in a diner, says that "$87 billion is a lot of money for Iraq -- too much, in fact. That's the price we're paying because George Bush antagonized our allies and had no plan to win the peace."

But then Lieberman has to explain why he backed Bush's $87 billion proposal for Iraq and Afghanistan. "We had to make a choice. I didn't duck it. I didn't play politics. I voted to support our troops and finish the job." The ad suggests this was a courageous vote, but 86 other senators voted aye, too.

Lieberman aides view the commercial as something of a risk, given the strong opposition to the war among many Democratic primary voters. "He's making clear in this ad that while he didn't necessarily agree with the fact that the Bush administration had no plan for Iraq, he thinks we absolutely, positively have to support our troops there on the ground," said spokesman Jano Cabrera. Most of the spending would be military in nature, with $20 billion earmarked for rebuilding Iraq.

In the other TV spot, Lieberman says: "The Republicans are talking about billions of dollars in new tax breaks for corporations. It's unbelievable. They're going to ransack the whole Social Security trust fund if we don't stop them."

The reference is to a proposal by GOP members of the House Ways and Means Committee. Lieberman touts his middle-class tax cut and a tax hike "for those who can afford it" -- described by his Web site as families earning more than $196,000 a year.


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