Lieberman Releases First Ads: On Tuesday, Joe Lieberman's presidential campaign released its first television ads, going up in New Hampshire with two messages. Touting his "Leadership with Integrity" theme, Lieberman's ads focus on Iraq and tax policy. The ads' style, which Lieberman media consultant Mandy Grunwald calls "On the Road with Joe," is informal and fast-paced, designed to "be able to react to things in the news."
The first ad highlights Lieberman's votes in favor of the Iraq war resolution and the $87 billion reconstruction package. Taking an overt swing at President Bush and a thinly veiled swipe at his Democratic rivals, Lieberman says, "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 seems to recall Lieberman's criticism of other Democratic candidates, including Sen. John Kerry and Gen. Wesley Clark, made in Sunday's debate. Despite this, the campaign says the ads are not negative and that "New Hampshire voters in particular value this kind of bluntness and integrity."
The second ad, on Lieberman's tax plan, goes directly after the GOP. Lieberman intones, "[Republicans are] going to ransack the whole Social Security trust fund if we don't stop them. I'm Joe Lieberman and I approve this message because we need to restore integrity and fairness to our taxes." Lieberman's team says that his plan will "close corporate loopholes," a sentiment that resounds particularly loudly in New Hampshire, Tyco's former home base before it split for the Bahamas to avoid paying taxes.
Lieberman's campaign, which is facing declining poll numbers and financial resources, decided to skip the Iowa caucuses. The ad buy in New Hampshire reflects the campaign's concentration on the Granite State. Although the campaign did not release the size of the ad buy, the ads will be on the air on WMUR and on cable stations around Boston. Grunwald said the buy is two and a half times what Sen. John Edwards has on the air at the moment. The ads, while they will run in New Hampshire, were filmed in Delaware.
As for what the ads should accomplish, Lieberman pollster Mark Penn told reporters that the "race is wide open ... 50 percent of voters are still undecided. This type of vigorous media campaign can move Joe up and put him in the race at the same level as other candidates."
"They're going to be fresh and different," Lieberman told the AP, "They're going to be my attempt through television to speak directly in a less formal setting to the people of New Hampshire about the important issues and challenges of the day."
One Jesse Endorsement Down, One to Go: He may be the candidate that his fellow contenders love to hate, but after winning three big endorsements on Monday, Howard Dean is sitting pretty once again. While campaigning in Chicago, Dean received good news when Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. said he would soon endorse Dean for the nomination, telling a mostly African-American audience at Chicago State University that Dean has "the best chance to be the next president of the United States," reports the New York Times.
Many candidates have sought support from Rep. Jackson, the son of civil rights leader and two-time presidential candidate Rev. Jesse Jackson, but telling an audience that he's not wasting his time with "any more non-straight-talking candidates," it became clear that those days are over.
Jackson's support should prove helpful to Dean, whose ability to diversify his support base has come into question. So far, the bulk of his support has come from liberal whites.
Rev. Jackson had yet to endorse a candidate, but, according to an interview Dean gave the Times, he has spent a lot of time on the phone with Jackson.
Dean also won the support from two large unions, the California Teachers Association and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades on Monday. The painters union, with 140,000 members, is the first international union to endorse Dean, while the California teachers union, an affiliate of the National Education Association, brings another 333,000 members to the Dean camp.
Young Enough To Stay Out Late: When was the last time that rapper Big Boi from Outkast, players from the Washington Redskins and Bill Clinton shared the same venue? Probably the same time that "keeping allies" and "creating jobs" were applause lines at Dream, one of D.C.'s hottest nightclubs.
To a screaming crowd of about 5,000, former President Clinton took the stage Monday night to help the DNC raise money. "We've got to have a policy where we make more friends and fewer terrorists," Mr. Clinton said. "An America where we all go forward together."
The $50-to-$100-a-head fundraiser, aimed at young professionals, brought in $250,000, primarily from new donors. So why hold a fundraiser at Dream? As DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe told CBS News, "For Democrats to be successful, we've got to bring the Party to the party."
And last night it seemed to be working. Dream's four floors were packed with young people dressed in attire usually not present at DNC fundraisers who screamed and hollered as they waited for President Clinton to arrive. "Clinton is my idol," said Sean Smith, a student at nearby George Washington University. And that sentiment was echoed across the club. Although various celebrities and sports personalities were present, as transplanted New Yorker Emily Berman told CBS News, "Bill Clinton is the performer I came to see." Added another young fan, "I'm here to see Bill – and maybe Hillary – I hope she'll tag along."
Among the enthusiastic mass, there was no shortage of young people eager to show their support for current Democratic candidates like Kerry, Clark, Dean and Gephardt. But do they have the same charisma as Mr. Clinton? Not exactly. While Samantha Dahl liked "Gephardt's blue eyes," and Tamara O'Neil, deputy director of the Women's Campaign Fund, said Dean was "smoky hot," everyone agreed with Ms. Berman that "to Bill there's still no comparison."
But lest DNC organizers worry that Clinton-worship crowded out the event's fund-raising purpose, several Dream-goers said this was the start of their giving to political parties. "I think I'll be back," said Hill staffer Gabe Holstrom. And as Adam Stanton, formerly of the Bronx, told CBS News, "This is the start of my relationship with the DNC, not the end of it."
And that, along with musical performances from Fame winner Harlemm Lee and Billboard artist Yahzarah, should be music to the DNC's ears.
Double Duty: Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., is not canceling his previously planned trip to the nation's capital Tuesday even though 500,000 acres of his state have been burned by wildfires. In fact, he's planning on making the fires central to his visit.
Originally, Schwarzenegger was to meet with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and other Senate Republicans, as well as with House GOPers. Schwarzenegger also will meet with the entire California congressional delegation, which includes his transition team chairman, Rep. David Dreier. He also might meet with his uncle-in-law, Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass, and he's added meetings with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials to his schedule.
While he's in D.C., Schwarzenegger, who is being briefed regularly by outgoing Gov. Gray Davis, said he intended to "make sure that we get federal money for people who have had their homes and businesses destroyed."
Meantime, Roll Call reports that a couple of California GOP congressmen are on the governor-elect's radar for posts in his administration. In addition to Dreier, Rep. Doug Ose is also receiving attention. He's reportedly being considered for the state agriculture secretary job.
"I think he's flattered to be considered," Ose spokesman Yier Shi told Roll Call. "But he hasn't been offered anything. He hasn't filled out an application. As far as I know, he hasn't said what he'd do if he were offered anything."
Green for Dennis: Many Green Party members throughout the nation have voiced support for Dennis Kucinich, but the New Hampshire Green Party has stepped up and endorsed him. Kucinich is running near the bottom of the Democratic primary polls in New Hampshire, and this endorsement may give him a bit of a boost.
According to the Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News, Green Party spokesman Guy Chichester said, "Dennis is one of us." Chichester said that of all the Democratic candidates, Kucinich is the most closely aligned with the principles of the Green Party. He also said the endorsement to help Kucinich will not affect the Green Party's own nominating convention in June.
In response to the endorsement, Kucinich said, "I think it's possible to bring Green principles into the Democratic Party, and that's what my goal is: To make the Democrats more responsive on environmental issues, to protect out forests from clear-cutting, to protect our land from having poisons dumped into it, to protect our air and the quality of our water."
The New Hampshire Green Party is small and not considered an "official" political party. In order for its members to vote for Kucinich in the primary, those registered as Independents need to declare as Democrats on the way in and undeclared on the way out; those members who are Republican must change their party affiliation to Democrat by October 31.
Quote of the Day: "I think Washington corrupts people. ... Now he's one of them. All they care about is getting reelected. I hate them all." -- Ohio Republican Rep. Steve LaTourette's wife Susan, who said the congressman "asked her for a divorce after admitting he is involved with another woman, a Washington lobbyist." (The Hill, via National Journal's Wake-Up Call!)