Lieberman gets poll Joe-mentum, Bush love

The independent opens a 17-point lead over Ned Lamont.

Published October 20, 2006 1:02PM (EDT)

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Joe Lieberman with a 17-point lead over Democrat Ned Lamont in the U.S. Senate race in Connecticut. The numbers: Lieberman at 52 percent, Lamont at 35 percent and Republican Alan Schlesinger at 6 percent.

The poll was taken after a three-way debate between Lieberman, Lamont and Schlesinger Monday but mostly before voters saw a second, five-candidate debate that focused more heavily on Lieberman's support for the war in Iraq. As the New York Times reports, the Iraq criticism seemed to "jar" Lieberman. The senator repeatedly ran over the time limits for his responses, prompting Schlesinger to say at one point: "You see, this is what happens when you spend six years running for president and vice president of the United States, you begin to believe you are actually in the executive branch of the government."

Speaking of the executive branch, Lieberman got some words of encouragement from the head of it Thursday. At a reception for Sen. George Allen in Richmond, Va., George W. Bush described Lieberman as having been "purged" from the "Democrat Party" for taking a "strong, principled stand" on Iraq. "Think about what it means," Bush said. "Six years ago, the Democrats thought that Joe Lieberman was a good enough man and a good enough politician to run as the vice presidential candidate. Now, because he supports victory in Iraq for the sake of security in the United States, they don't think he's fit to be in their party. There's only one position in the Democratic Party that everybody seems to agree on. If you want to be a Democrat these days, you can be for almost anything, but victory in Iraq is not an option."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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