Lieberman On CNN: Worried Not Enough Democrats Will Vote

I had trouble coming up with a headline because he makes so many outrageous claims. He said he's taking out an insurance policy. Write your own headl

cnn_sr_lieberman_arrogant_interview_060703a1.jpg I had trouble coming up with a headline because he makes so many outrageous claims. He said he's taking out an insurance policy. Write your own headline...

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He complains that not enough Democrats might vote in the primary. Huh? King from CNN hits him with questions about part loyalty which he obviously is lacking...

Atrios: "If this is correct, then Lieberman has to pick a party name to put on the ballot if he makes an independent run. He can't use any variation of Democrat or Republican, or choose "none" or "unaffiliated." that should Joe call his party of one?...read on

Please put in the comment section outside of his Stepford support of Bush, why you want to see Joe Lieberman lose. MyDD has one going.

My Left Nutmeg has Lamont's response to Joe. The Agonist: Jumpin' Joe

Thanks for the full Transcript via CNN's The Situation Room:

John King, CNN:

Senator Joseph Lieberman, thank you for joining us in THE SITUATION ROOM today. Sir, as you know, you have created quite a stir, not only in your home state of Connecticut, but across theDemocratic Party with this announcement today. How would you answer critics, especially from the left of the party,who are accusing you of blind arrogance, saying you are putting self-preservation over your loyalty to a Democratic Party that has not only supported you in Connecticut, but supported you nationally as its vice presidential nominee just six years ago?

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, John, I would definitely put my loyalty to the Democratic Party and my service to the Democratic
Party up against most of those who are saying those things. I am a
loyal Democrat and I am going to work my heart out to get the Democratic
nomination for the U.S. Senate this year and the primary on August 8th.

KING: Senator, let me jump in -- these critics are saying if you are a
loyal Democrat and you're running in the Democratic primary, then why
won't you be bound by the results? Why won't you honor the votes of the
Democrats if you lose and just support your opponent?


↓ Story continues below ↓

LIEBERMAN: Let me give you two reasons. The first is I am very loyal
to the Democratic Party, but I have a loyalty higher than that to my
party. That is to my state and my country. And I feel so deeply that I
can do a better job for my state and my country than either the
Democratic or Republican opponents against me that I'm prepared, if
necessary, to take my fight to November as a petitioning Democratic
candidate.

KING: You say a petitioning Democratic candidate, but as you know, you
would be on the ballot as unaffiliated. I want you to help me through
the positions you have put some of your friends in. The leadership,
Chuck Schumer, who runs the Democratic senatorial committee, Harry Reid,
who of course is the Democratic leader -- they are supporting you in the
primary.

Should you lose that primary, they won't answer the question right now,
they say we will get there if that happens. But sources are telling our
Dana Bash that they would feel most likely that they would have no
choice but to support your opponent as the Democratic nominee in the
primary.

Would you expect that to happen? And have they told you they would
have to do that, sir?

LIEBERMAN: No. John, let me make clear that I am a Democrat and I
will remain a Democrat. I am not going to be unaffiliated if I have to
petition my way onto the ballot. I'm going to be a Democrat and I will
caucus with the Democrats and look forward to caucusing with the Senate
Democratic majority.

I spoke to Harry Reid this morning, I told him about it. I spoke to
Chuck Schumer yesterday. They expected this, they understand. I am
doing it early to get it out of the way and then I hope I never have to
file these petitions, which are due the day after the primary. And they
are working their heart out, as are all my colleagues in the Senate
Democratic caucus to return me as the Democratic nominee to the Senate
next year.

KING: But I assume you are going this petition route as a backup
option because you have a fairly decent sense that you might lose this
primary?

LIEBERMAN: Well here's what I feel. I'm in a competitive race and I'm
running against a person who by his own calculation is worth as much as
$300 million.

One, who knows who will turn out on a hot August day in a primary here?
Second, who knows how many big checks my opponent will write between
now and then. So I am saying that I want to win the Democratic primary.
I am working my heart out for it. I am actually upping my commitment
to the primary in every way.

But if I don't, I want to put my case before all the voters of
Connecticut in November because they are the ones who have served for 18
years, and they are the ones who have elected me on three previous
Novembers.

KING: Senator, put yourself in the shoes of Harry Reid or Chuck
Schumer, should you lose this primary. Do you expect them to give money
to the Democratic nominee? Do you expect them to come up into
Connecticut and campaign with the Democratic nominee or have they
promised you they would not do those things?

LIEBERMAN: I haven't -- these are all hypotheticals, and I think all
the leaders of the Democratic Party here in Connecticut and in the
Senate who I have spoken to before I made this decision, have made clear
to me that they're going to redouble their efforts to make sure I win
the Democratic primary.

I expect to win the Democratic primary, but I know that nothing is
guaranteed in politics or elections. And so I'm essentially taking out
an insurance policy. I'm opening up an option that will guarantee me
that I will be able to make my case to all the voters in Connecticut in
November because I am so confident that I can do a better job for them,
I want them to have the final say.

So what I'm saying is the Democratic leaders in the state of
Connecticut and in the Senate are supporting me in the primary and they
hope and I hope and believe that I will win the primary and we won't
have to think about what to do the day after.

KING: But why have parties and why have primaries if the candidates
who may be backed by the establishment, but perhaps not win the votes of
the people who turn out on primary day can just take out insurance
policies and stay on the ballot even if they lose the primary? Why have
a party then?

LIEBERMAN: Right this is a very important question. And I would
answer it this way, John. This challenge to me is obviously a challenge
to my record of serving the state of Connecticut and the United States
of America, and it asks the voters of Connecticut to decide which one of
us, my challenger or I, could do a better job for them in the six years
ahead.

But it also raises questions about what do we mean by political
parties? And what kind of politics do we want to have? And when I say
that, here's what I mean. The Democratic Party has always been at its
strongest when it welcomed a diversity of opinions.

My opponent is campaigning against me on one issue: Iraq. I have the
support of a host of progressive groups: the labor movement, the
environmental movement, the human rights political action fund, which is
the advocacy group for gay and lesbian Americans, Planned Parenthood. I
could go on and on.

I am a committed, loyal Democrat. And the question that is being asked
of the Democrats here in Connecticut is: will we impose a litmus test?
The same kind of litmus test that we criticized the Republicans for
imposing, particularly on one issue on which I have taken a principal
stand, clearly not one that is to my political advantage, which is the
war against terrorism.

And I'm taking it because I believe that it is best for the safety and
security of our country and our families. So that's what's on the line
here. The other thing to say is this: we don't know how many people are
going to turn out in this Democratic primary. Most people -- I said
this morning when I made this announcement, John, that I know that if
all the Democrats in Connecticut came out to vote or even half of them
came out to vote, that I would win renomination in the primary by a
comfortable margin.

Most of the people here think that at best, there will be 25 or 30
percent of the Democrats who come out. That means about five percent of
all the registered voters in Connecticut might have the final say as to
whether I continue to serve Connecticut and my country in the U.S.
Senate. I think all the voters of the state ought to be able to make
that decision. That's why I've done what I've done today.

KING: But if that's your position, sir, let me ask you in closing. I
was going to ask about other things, but you make an interesting point.
There are low turnouts in primaries all the time, especially in
midterm elections.

If you feel that way and you knew going in that one part of your party
might oppose you because of your support of the war, your support of the
president, on these issues, why not leave the Democratic Party at the
beginning or announce you were going to run as an Independent or
unaffiliated but caucus with the Democrats at the beginning? If this
primary is not representative but it was the last time you ran and the
time before, and the time before that, why not just get out of the party?

LIEBERMAN: Well first, I never had primaries before, but the reason I
have made the decision to stay in the primary is that I am a Democrat.
And I believe in the principles of the Democratic Party, I was inspired
into public service by President Kennedy and his vision on what it meant
to be a Democrat: socially progressive on domestic policy, strong and
idealistic on foreign policy.

That's the vision of the Democratic Party, I think we need to adopt as
party to regain the confidence of the American people, so that we can
elect a majority in both houses of Congress and a president in 2008.

And I want to give my fellow Democrats here in Connecticut the
opportunity to affirm my service and accept the diversity that I am part
of in this party. If not, I am so deeply committed to the well-being of
my state and so believe that I can do a better job than either my
Republican or Democratic opponents, that I am going to give the final
choice to all the voters in the state in November.

And that's what I am saying, one way or another I am going to be on the
ballot in November. I want it to be as a Democratic, as the nominee of
the Democratic Party. If for some reason that doesn't work out, I'm
going to be there as Senator Joe Lieberman, individual Democrat asking
for their support for reelection.

KING: Senator Lieberman of Connecticut, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut,
I could go on for another hour sir, but we are out of time. I suspect
this debate that you have started in your state and across the
Democratic Party will continue in the weeks to come. Sir, thank you
very much for your time today.

LIEBERMAN: Thank you John, happy Fourth.

(h/t David Edwards)

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