Sen. Joe Lieberman has spent 18 years in the Senate as Washington has slid ever deeper into bitter partisanship, and now he's insisting on running for reelection despite the fact that the Democratic voters who put him in power wish he wouldn't.
But never mind any of that. What you've got to understand is, he's a uniter.
Responding to speculation that George W. Bush might endorse Lieberman in a three-way race in Connecticut, Lieberman says he's running for reelection in order to bring a new kind of politics to Washington. Lieberman says that Bush's "statement of neutrality" -- which is overstating the case a bit, but anyway -- is "encouraging" because it shows he has a "strong chance to build a broad coalition of Democrats, independents, and Republicans in Connecticut for a new politics of unity and purpose in Washington. That is, a new politics that will bring us together to get things done for the people we serve instead of just playing partisan political games."
While Bush hasn't endorsed Lieberman yet -- the official Republican candidate in the race is drawing only single-digit support, and White House press secretary Tony Snow refused to say what the president's intentions were Monday -- a group with close ties to the GOP is throwing its weight behind Lieberman. As the Hartford Courant reports this morning, a new Virginia-based 527 called "Vets for Freedom" has just launched a TV ad on behalf of Lieberman's independent campaign. As the Courant reports, the group's public relations firm includes Taylor Gross, a former White House official, and it takes guidance from Republican strategist Dan Senor.
An advisor to Lamont tells the Courant that the ad demonstrates that "national Republicans, in their effort to help Joe Lieberman, clearly have a well-laid-out strategy to attack Ned Lamont." The uniting-not-dividing Lieberman camp responds by calling the Lamont campaign a bunch of "reality-challenged" conspiracy theorists.