Friday, October 20, 2006

Caught Ned-Handed: AP says Lamont has faded

posted from the Ministry of Awful Puns The Full Lamonty, Oct 19th

The AP put out a dead-on assessment today of Ned’s struggles to broaden his appeal beyond his narrow anti-war base.

The story notes that two-plus months into the general election Ned is finally trying to shake his well-deserved image as “one-note Ned,” and talking about other issues. Of course, Ned neglects to mention that his plans steal liberally from proposals Joe Lieberman has already introduced or endorsed.

But the story makes clear that this is more than likely a case of too little too late.

Lamont, a cable TV executive whose only political experience is at the local level on two Greenwich boards, got off to a sluggish start after the primary.

He waited two weeks before releasing his first TV ad, giving Lieberman time to rebound.

"I'm not sure the (Lamont) group realized how much energy and how much get-up-and-go it takes," said Ted Cummings, the Democratic town committee chairman in Manchester, a Hartford suburb. "The primary was exhausting, but you've got to get up the next day and step it up and pour it on until the general election."

. . . "He was a national celebrity," Gary Rose, a politics professor at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, said of Lamont. "But after he won his primary, it seemed like he became the invisible man for a while. Something was lost there."

"His numbers seem to be frozen right now," said Doug Schwartz, Quinnipiac University Poll director. "He hasn't quite figured out what to do to broaden his appeal."

By contrast, the story points out how Joe Lieberman pivoted right away to deliver a clear and resonant message that cut across party lines.

After his loss, Lieberman quickly shifted the focus from his support of the war and onto Lamont's inexperience. Reaching out to Republicans and moderates, he ran ads stressing his ability to work with both parties to deliver for Connecticut. He highlighted what he did to help save the submarine base in Groton.

That helps explain why even the Democratic voters the AP talked to who were nominally supporting Lamont or even thinking about switching talked up the value of Lieberman’s experience and record of results.

"I hate giving up his strength for an untried unknown," said Laurel Kohl, a specialist in sustainable energy education at Eastern Connecticut State University and a lifelong Democrat who backed Lieberman in the primary

John Orazietti, the Derby Democratic town committee chairman, is officially backing Lamont. But his heart is with Lieberman, who he predicts will win because of his long-standing support for Connecticut's defense industries, a vital part of the state's economy.

"People want to put food on their tables," said Orazietti.

Then again, the AP suggested, the Lamont campaign’s many gaffes have had something to do with it.

He had to apologize after campaign manager Tom Swan called Waterbury a place "where the forces of slime meet the forces of evil." Two former elected officials from Waterbury have served prison time.

Lamont stumbled again when he criticized Lieberman's public scolding of former President Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. It turns out Lamont wrote to the senator in 1998 praising the speech.

The campaign waded into controversy, too, after a black leader endorsed Lamont and accused Lieberman of lying about his civil rights activism, before backing off the charges. The Lieberman camp pounced on the episode as evidence of Lamont's negative campaigning.

The bottom line?

Some Democrats wonder if Lamont could become the next Dean, whose insurgent presidential primary campaign energized the party's left wing, but flamed out because he failed to win over more moderate voters.

Posted on 10/19/2006 at 6:37 PM

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Washington Prognosis: Joe is looking good

posted October 19th

We know that we still have a tough fight ahead of us for the last 19 days of the campaign. But we take some comfort from knowing that more and more national political observers are saying Ned’s paté may be cooked.

Today’s prognosis comes from the Washington Times, which ran a story under the headline, “Lieberman seen set to win re-election.”

Three weeks before Election Day all indications are that Sen. Joe Lieberman is headed for re-election after stumbling in his party's primary over the summer.
The Connecticut Democrat, who is running as an independent, leads Democratic nominee Ned Lamont in the polls, has raised more campaign money, and has won a number of endorsements from both parties.

A University of Connecticut poll released last week shows Mr. Lieberman leading Mr. Lamont 46 percent to 39 percent, with 12 percent of poll respondents saying they remain undecided. Republican Alan Schlesinger received just 3 percent in the poll.

The Lieberman campaign also has a fundraising edge, with campaign finance reports showing Mr. Lieberman has raised $14.8 million, compared with $9 million for Mr. Lamont. Mr. Lamont has spent $11 million of his personal fortune on the race, including a $2 million donation made last week.
Posted by: Eric Blankenbaker on 10/19/2006 at 3:07 PM
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NJ Senate Candidates give Joe bipartisan support

posted October 19th

How's this for bipartisanship?

This afternoon The Empire Zone reports that Democratic New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez and his Republican opponent Tom Kean Jr. both endorsed expressed support of Joe's independent candidacy yesterday at a public forum.

[B]oth candidates were asked about Lieberman’s re-election bid. Mr. Mendenez, who appeared first, said he supports Mr. Lieberman’s run as an independent candidate. “I wish him well,” he said, “and hope he returns.”

He then warned the crowd that Mr. Kean, who was to appear second, would try to tell the crowd that Mr. Menendez supports Mr. Lamont.

About 40 minutes later, when Mr. Kean was asked about Senator Lieberman, he said, “I think he is the right individual and I look forward to serving with him.” After a pause, he added, “My opponent, by the way, supports Ned Lamont.”
Posted by: Eric Blankenbaker on 10/19/2006 at 2:08 PM

Today's debate

posted October 18th

Joe showed that he is the only candidate in the race who is capable of fixing the gridlock in Washington and finding solutions to the problems that Connecticut voters care about in today's debate.

While Ned attacked from the left and Alan Schlesinger attacked from the right, Joe talked straight about the challenges we face as a country, his ideas for meeting them, and not least of all, why his experience and ability to work across party lines make him uniquely qualified to get things done for Connecticut.

The perfect example of that is the $3 million in funding he secured for the Bushnell. With Republicans in control of Congress, the only way that he could help deliver those dollars was to draw on the good will and relationships he had developed with his colleagues on the other side of the aisle.

Ned, on the other hand, would never have been able to get those results for the people of Connecticut. He has spent this entire campaign making partisan attacks, pointing fingers, and demonizing those who disagree with him, just as he did in today’s debate. And the reality is most Republicans would never lift a finger to help someone like him.

In sum, Joe showed that he is just what most Connecticut voters expect from a Senator — an independent-minded leader who makes up his mind on the issues based on what is right and what is best for Connecticut, who believes neither party has a monopoly on good ideas, and who will put people ahead of politics to get things done for our state.

The debate will be broadcast on WSFB Channel 3 at 7:00 PM tomorrow night.
Posted by: Eric Blankenbaker on 10/18/2006 at 6:51 PM

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ford backs Lieberman

posted October 18th

We are proud to say that the next Democratic Senator from Tennessee, Harold Ford Jr., re-endorsed Joe Lieberman today for the general election.

As the AP reported today, Congressman Ford reiterated his support for Lieberman Monday on a local radio talk show.

"I support Joe Lieberman. He knows that. I've made that clear from the very beginning," Ford said Monday on the radio talk show of conservative host Steve Gill.

Show your appreciation by supporting Harold Ford.
Posted by: Eric Blankenbaker on 11/18/2006 at 5:13 PM

Guess who is betting on Joe?

posted October 18th

We found this excerpt from a Weekly Standard profile of Kinky Friedman, the independent candidate running for governor in Texas.

What makes this anecdote particularly amusing is that Friedman’s top strategist is Bill Hillsman, Ned’s admaker:
The musical revelry hits a speed bump when we start talking about his close friend Willie Nelson, whom he calls the "hillbilly Dalai Lama," and with whom he currently has a double-or-nothing wager. Willie took him for a grand on how the Iraq war would turn out (Kinky thought Bush and Blair would be "heroes"). Kinky now stands to win two grand if Joe Lieberman beats Ned Lamont--eight thousand if you count his Lieberman side bets with other suckers. Kinky's an inveterate gambler who takes "fact-finding trips to Vegas," though "these days, I'm bettin' on Texas." Still, of Lieberman, he says, "That fucker better win." (expletive reinstated)

Posted by: Eric Blankenbaker on 10/18/2006 at 11:08 AM

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Lamont Hypocrisy Watch: Blogger Desperation Edition

posted Oct 17 2006
(Woohoo! After all these months, I FINALLY got a mention on Joe's blog! I can't believe it! This is fantastic!

My acceptance speech: I'd like to thank all the people who made this possible...Kirby...Joe Lieberman, of course; Eric Blagnerkerer; Danny Gerstain; the late Sean Smith and Marion Steinfels; and of course, my best friend and buddy, Alan Schlesinger!)

There is no better barometer of the increasing desperation of the Lamont campaign than the reaction of Ned’s biggest blogger boosters to yesterday’s debate.

Instead of touting Ned’s performance, which would have been a challenge for the even the best spinmasters, the usually Republican-hating keyboard jockeys spent an inordinate amount of their hype on Alan Schlesinger.

(You can find some of the more hilarious examples below.)

The reason for this sudden turnabout could not be more transparent. The bloggers know that Negative Ned’s message of blame and blather has totally failed to resonate with voters outside his anti-war base, and that Lamont’s only hope in this race now is to try to peal away Republican voters from Joe Lieberman.

Thus you have the pathetic spectacle of not just angry left-wing bloggers cheerleading for the conservative Schlesinger, but of Ned himself trying to pump his Republican counterpart up. Following one of Schlesinger’s more colorful outbursts yesterday, Ned offered the Round Hill Country Club version of a you-go-girl shoutout:

"Look, you are going to come back," Lamont said. "I got into this race. I had absolutely no support at all." (Hartford Courant, 10/17/06)

Then after the debate Lamont Campaign Chairman George Jepsen did his best to turn Schlesinger into Reagan:

"He doesn't get a forum like this every day of the week," said George Jepsen, co-chairman of the Lamont campaign. "He spoke with great clarity." (Hartford Courant, 10/17/06)

Seems pretty clear to us this cynical tactic is part of a coordinated strategy -- and that it will fall as flat as the rest of Ned’s general election campaign. The next logical step will be for Ned and his more wealthy friends to start funneling money to Schlesinger to try to get him on television.

Now THAT would be quite a change.

The Schlesinger Swoon

My DD:
Lieberman Crunched, Schlesinger Soars
by Matt Stoller, Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 02:05:39 PM EST

There is just no question that Alan Schlesinger won this debate, Lamont pretty much held his own, and Lieberman lost. Alan Schlesinger was funny, interesting, and passionate. He made compelling conservative arguments, and punctured the myth that Lieberman was a principled independent. Lamont held his own as a credible candidate, standing up to Joe's attacks. Lieberman was somewhat funny, but he couldn't defend his middle of the road mantra when Alan Schlesinger and Ned Lamont were pointing out that his record doesn't match his rhetoric.

Connecticut Blog:

All I can say is WOW! It think Joe Lieberman just lost a big piece of his Republican support base as the true Republican Alan Schlesinger ripped the de facto Republican to shreds at today's debate. Knowing that he didn't have anything to lose, the Republican nominate candidate came out of the gate swinging and really whacked Lieberman upside the head on a variety of issues ranging from North Korea to Social Security. . . At one point while Schlesinger was tearing Lieberman to pieces, I turned around to get a feel of the crowd and a majority of the people were very impressed with Schlesinger. . .”

Connecticut Bob:
Recap part 2
Overall, I think Schlesinger helped himself the most -- by getting fair time to talk and present himself to his Republican constituents. I think he will get a big bump out of this one.

Daily Kos:
CT-Sen: The immigration factor
by kos
Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 04:46:14 PM PDT
It's early in the process, but I haven't heard anyone highlight the significance of this moment in today's debate.

Republican Alan Schlesinger, who was surprisingly impressive in the debate, made a clear distinction between himself and his two opponents on the immigration issue.
Posted on 10/17/2006 at 1:29 PM

Caught Ned-Handed

posted Oct. 17 2006 (yawn alert)

Joe welcomes a chance to compare his record on energy security with Ned’s. As best we can tell, the only thing Ned has done to this point to help make America less dependent on foreign oil to trade in his Lexus SUV for a hybrid at the start of the campaign so he could pretend he cares about the environment.

Moreover, with his energy plan, Ned has shown yet again he has no new ideas to offer – just more repackaged policies, most of which Joe has already proposed, and overheated rhetoric:

The Lamont Plan: “promote energy efficiency, alternative fuels and other renewable sources. He urged tax credits to help companies to buy new fuel-efficient equipment. He also set a goal for America to use one quarter of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.” [AP, 10/17/06]

The Lieberman Record: Last year, Joe joined with three of his Senate colleagues to write and introduce the Vehicles and Fuel Choices for American Security Act, also known as the Set America Free Act. Among other things, that bill would:

* Cut America’s oil consumption over ten years by 2.5 million barrels-per-day – roughly the amount of oil the US currently imports from the Middle East.
* Go on to cut consumption by 10 million barrels-per-day by 2031 – roughly half of current oil consumption in the US.
* Set rising targets for manufacturers to produce flexible-fuel, alternative-fuel, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fuel-cell vehicles, and institute loan guarantees, grants, and tax credits to promote sales of those vehicles;
* mandate the development of fuel-efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles
* eliminate the current tax break for purchases of heavy SUVs
* require the federal government to improve the fuel-efficiency of its vehicle fleets
* establish a program for increasing the use of fuel-saving tires
* institute a series of steps for increasing domestic production of ethanol fuel.

The Lieberman Record: In 2003, Joe wrote and introduced with Senator John McCain the Climate Stewardship Act, the first-ever bill to cut global warming emissions from all U.S. industrial sectors using a market-based system.

* By sparking a dramatic increase in energy efficiency and increasing the use of clean, renewable energy sources, the bill would reduce many dangers aside from global warming, including the risk of energy-caused recessions, our dependence on foreign oil, and health-impairing soot and smog.
* In February 2005, the Tellus Institute found that the bill would create a net in crease in US employment – adding 800,000 jobs by 2025 – and that the annual savings to consumers would reach $30 billion in 2020.
* Joe and John McCain have forced the Senate to vote on their bill twice. They will reintroduce the bill next year and keep forcing votes until it passes.

Can Ned beat that? No, of course he can’t. So he’s left copying Joe ’s ideas and calling for the very policies that Joe is already working to put in place.

And in Ned’s so-called “Plan for Change,” which he offered last Wednesday, Ned offered no new ideas and says he supports ideas that Joe has already championed and fought for in the Senate:

Lamont Claims: "It is dangerous to be buying billions worth of oil from a region of the world that is mired in conflict. In ending oil imports from the Middle East, America could deny adversaries the wherewithal they use to harm us. In addition, a reduction in dependence on oil would reduce global warming, protect the environment and make our country safer."

Fact: Sounds good, but also sounds familiar. A year ago, in a speech at Georgetown University, Joe Lieberman said nearly the exact same thing.

"[T]oday we must depend for our oil on a global gallery of nations that are politically unstable, unreliable, or just plain hostile to us. . . . Doing nothing about our oil dependency will make us a pitiful giant – like Gulliver in Lilliput – tied down by smaller nations and subject to their whims. And we will have given them the ropes and helped them tie the knots." [Speech Delivered by Senator Joe Lieberman at Georgetown University, October 7, 2005]

Lamont Claims: "[A] reduction in dependence on oil would reduce global warming, protect the environment and make our country safer."

Fact: Again, sounds good, but also sounds familiar. This summer, at a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Joe said nearly the exact same thing.

"[I]n the process of making our cars, trucks, and busses more efficient and increasing the use of fuels derived from crops, [S. 2025, Lieberman's energy independence bill] would reduce greatly the amount of global warming pollution that our vehicles add to the atmosphere.”

Lamont Claims: I have “a new national energy strategy emphasizing efficiency, alternative fuels, and new technology which will be an economic engine for new jobs in Connecticut and the nation." I would “begin today to provide incentives for converting domestic assembly lines to manufacture highly efficient cars, transitioning the fleet to American made advanced technology vehicles, increasing consumer choice and strengthening the US auto industry.”

Fact: These proposals are already contained in the Vehicles and Fuel Choices for American Security Act (S. 2025) authored and introduced by Joe Lieberman in November 2005.

Lamont Claims: I would “invest in more efficient factories,” “encourage high performance building,” “increase use of energy efficient appliances,” “modernize electrical infrastructure,” and “expand renewable energy development.”

Fact: These proposals are already contained in several bills authored and introduced by Joe, such as the Vehicles and Fuel Choices for American Security Act (S. 2025), the Clean Energy Development for a Growing Economy Act (S. 2829), the Securing America’s Energy Independence Act (S. 2677), in the High Performance Green Buildings Act (S. 3591), the Enhanced Energy Security Act (S. 2747), in the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act (S. 1151) and the Clean Power Act (S. 150).

Lamont Claims: “Lieberman voted for President Bush’s energy bill. He was the only Democrat from the Northeast to vote in support of the lobbyist-written bill, which gives away billions in tax breaks to energy companies.”

Fact: The Energy Policy Act included several things of crucial importance to Connecticut that Joe had been working to get for the state for years, such as:

1. Language calling on federal energy regulators to reconsider a plan called LICAP that would have saddled Connecticut consumers with a dramatic increase in electricity rates. Thanks to that language, the regulators went back to the negotiating table and found a solution that the Connecticut Consumer Counsel supports and that will save Connecticut consumers $800 million as compared to the original LICAP plan.
2. Large financial incentives that Lieberman had cosponsored to promote sales of the clean energy fuel cells that are manufactured in Connecticut.
3. New security measures for nuclear power to protect Connecticut residents from the risk of nuclear sabotage.

Joe also succeeded in stripping the Energy Policy Act of several things that would have been harmful to Connecticut and the environment in general:

* Lieberman personally blocked a provision that would have gutted the Clean Air Act and sent more out-of-state air pollution into Connecticut.
* Lieberman also helped strip a provision that would have shielded oil companies from liability for polluting groundwater in Connecticut.
* Lieberman succeeded in ensuring that this was the first energy bill since 2001 not to include language opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
Posted by: Eric Blankenbaker on 10/17/2006 at 4:50 PM

Joe highlights plans to create jobs

posted Oct. 17 2006

Joe traveled the state today comparing his pro-growth economic agenda with Ned’s misguided, job-killing Plan for Change.

In a breakfast address at the Metro Hartford Chamber of Commerce, Joe highlighted his efforts to help Connecticut companies compete and win in the global economy:

We are poised to seize on the rapid expanding economy – all that we are missing is is a balanced national growth policy

That is why I introduced the National Competitiveness Investment Act, a plan to boost America’s lead in innovative technology and help create the jobs of the future. And that is why I will keep working to help equip Connecticut workers with the next generation skills they need to fill those next generation jobs.

Joe reiterated his support for an entrepreneurial trade policy, which views trade as an opportunity for economic growth. He noted that Connecticut companies exported almost $10 billion worth of products last year and that one out of every five jobs in the state was dependent on international trade.

Joe also said that Ned’s support for protectionism shows his lack of understanding of the new challenges of the new economy:

Lamont wants to close off Connecticut’s economy by erecting barriers and make it more difficult on small businesses to grow and expand by imposing mandates on them.

Later in the day, Joe joined most of the state’s Congressional delegation in New Haven at the Keep Connecticut Moving Summit, where he talked about his successful bipartisan efforts to secure transportation funding for Connecticut.

As a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Joe was able to help deliver $2.5 billion for the state – nearly a 20 percent increase for the state and $1.30 return on every tax dollar spent by Connecticut consumers.

Next to saving the sub base, the transportation bill was the greatest victory for Team Connecticut last year. We worked across party lines to get real results for the people of Connecticut.

Also, because of his seniority, Joe was able to secure an extra $50 million to mitigate congestion and address safety problems along I-95.

Joe later visited the Pez Candy Factory in Orange to talk about his ideas to help keep Connecticut and its workforce competitive today. There are approximately 170 workers at the Pez facility in Orange.

Should have some pictures up later tonight.

Posted by: Eric Blankenbaker on 10/17/2006 at 4:27 PM

Monday, October 16, 2006

Today's Debate in Stamford

(posted on October 16, 2006)

With today’s debate, Joe decisively showed the voters of Connecticut why he deserves to be reelected, highlighting his strong record of working across party lines to deliver results for Connecticut and his unique ability to break the partisan gridlock that is blocking progress on so many big challenges facing the country today.

When Ned was not acting like an innocent bystander in the debate, he continued his negative and dishonest attacks on Joe, failed to outline any new ideas, and spoke mostly in vague generalities.

In the process, Ned just reinforced our point that he would have no ability to bring people together and solve problems people care about — and that he would just add to the finger-pointing and game-playing in Washington.

Joe, on the other hand, made a compelling case that the only way to fix what’s wrong with Washington is to put people ahead of politics and do what’s right for our state and our country.

That’s just what Joe has done throughout his 18 years in the Senate -- whether it was working with Team Connecticut to save the New London Sub Base, working with the Connecticut Congressional delegation to clean up the Long Island Sound, or working with Republican Senators John McCain and Susan Collins to create the 9/11 Commission, implement its recommendations, and pass a landmark port security bill to fix the holes in our domestic defenses.

And that’s just what Joe will continue doing, as he spelled out in the debate, to help end the war in Iraq without compromising our security, create the next generation of good jobs, fix our broken health care system, provide a quality education to every child, protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare for generations to come, and grow the middle class and keep the American Dream alive for all who seek it.

Ned could not come close to matching that positive vision or command of the issues. And sadly, he too often fell back on repeating the same lame distortions of Joe's record that have been proven to be false or exposed as hypocritical.

Ned knows that Joe is opposed to Social Security privatization, and it is beneath him as a candidate for U.S. Senate to repeat that outrageous lie in front of a statewide audience.

Just the same, he knows his attack on Joe’s voting record is grossly hypocritical and misleading. He knows that Joe’s career voting percentage is exactly the same as his (93 percent). He also knows that the overwhelming number of votes that Joe Lieberman missed came in two limited time periods when he was running for vice president and president to defeat George Bush and make the country a better place, and that outside of those two periods Joe had a 98 percent voting record.

Not least of all, Ned knows that the reason Connecticut gets less federal spending than many other states is that we are the richest state in the union. He also knows that, if you look at a more objective measure, federal spending on a per-person basis, Connecticut ranks 8th in the country.

Ned can attack and distort all he wants, but he can’t change the facts. And he certainly can’t change Washington with his negative, dishonest, no-ideas brand of politics.”
Posted by: Eric Blankenbaker on 10/16/2006 at 4:33 PM

The Nedulator

(posted on October 16, 2006)
(and here for the follow-up post...these guys are just SO clever!)

To help voters watching today’s first general election Senate debate in Stamford to keep track of all of Ned’s many negative attacks and distortions, we are releasing ‘The Nedulator,’ an easy-to-use scorecard for adding up Lamont’s desperate debate comments.

Here is how ‘The Nedulator’ works:

* Subtract one point for every negative attack Ned makes on Joe Lieberman
* Subtract one point for every distortion of Joe Lieberman’s record Ned makes
* Add one point for every original new idea Ned discusses that Joe Lieberman has not already proposed
* Subtract two points for every idea Joe Lieberman has already proposed that Ned tries to pass off as his own
* Total it up the points, and you have Negative Ned’s Negativity Quotient.

If you can’t keep score at home, no need to worry. We will be keeping our own totals and posting them here after today’s debate, as well as the two other debates to follow

You can get 'The Nedulator' right here:

(Click link at top of this post to see the lame gimmick)
Posted by: Eric Blankenbaker on 10/16/2006 at 1:00 PM

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Meet Alan Schlesinger

Eric Blangenbaerker hasn't posted anything new on the Joe blog in 36 hours, so while we're waiting for him to sleep it off, here's the interview with Republican Alan Schlesinger, for any of you Republican conservatives and moderates who might be thinking of voting for Joe Lieberman.

Joe's got "Potomac Fever", and Ned Lamont is the cure!