Lamont Says Lieberman Should Get "Gold Medal for Political Gymnastics"
By Alec MacGillis
DENVER -- Ned Lamont, who made a fortune as a cable industry entrepreneur, was having some trouble with some decidedly more rudimentary technology -- the special-edition biodegradable wooden key card to his Denver hotel room which, while in keeping with the Democratic convention's green theme, was performing in a capricious manner.
But the flustered Connecticut millionaire took a moment from his trek back to the front desk to weigh in with sharp words on one of the hot topics of the day -- the possibility that his nemesis, independent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, might become Sen. John McCain's running mate.
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It was Lamont, of course, who helped set in motion Lieberman's move into the arms of the Republican Party when he successfully challenged Lieberman in Connecticut's 2006 Senate primary. In the process, Lamont became a hero to the activist left who saw Lieberman's rightward drift, particularly on Iraq and terrorism, as a betrayal. Refusing to bow out after losing the primary, Lieberman ran as an independent and beat Lamont in round two with the help of many Connecticut Republicans and right-leaning independents.
But as tenuous as Lieberman's ties to the Democrats have become, Lamont still expressed amazement that his former opponent was being seriously considered as McCain's running mate, just eight years after he held the same spot on Al Gore's ticket.
"He gets an Olympic gold medal for political gymnastics," Lamont said. "In our race, he ran around saying, 'I'm a good Democrat and he's a Republican.' And then when he ran as an independent, he told voters he would stay neutral in Washington. Now, he's leading the attack against Barack Obama. It's the gymnastics gold medal."
Lamont said he had not decided whether he would seek to fill Lieberman's seat in an eventual special election if Lieberman did become vice president or take another role in a McCain administration (word is that he would love to be secretary of Defense.) Lamont noted that there were many more Democrats in the state now who would want to try for the seat than when he launched his challenge. "That was a lonely vigil," he said of the 2006 race. And then he was off to do battle with the key card.
Posted at 2:06 PM ET on Aug 25, 2008
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