Cheney: Lieberman 'case' illustrates basic philosophical difference between two parties

Ron Brynaert
Published: Thursday October 12, 2006

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With less than a month to go before the elections, Vice President Dick Cheney offered up strong words of praise for Joe Lieberman, while taking shots at the "Dean Democrats" who have "purged" the Connecticut senator from the Democratic Party.

"The case of Joe Lieberman is a perfect illustration of the basic philosophical difference between the two parties in the year 2006," Cheney said at a Topeka, Kansas fundraiser for Rep. Jim Ryun on Thursday afternoon. "And it's a reminder that the elections on November 7th will have enormous consequences for this nation, one way or the other."

Lieberman is running for reelection as an Independent after his upset in the Democratic primary by challenger Ned Lamont, which was primarily due to his continued support of the war in Iraq and his perceived coziness with the Bush Administration.

After slamming DNC Chairman Howard Dean for declaring nearly three years ago that "the capture of Saddam [Hussein] has not made America safer," Cheney said that "[p]erhaps it should come as no surprise that such a party would turn its back on a man like Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut."

In December of 2003, Lieberman had said that Dean was living in a "spider hole of denial" if he believed America wouldn't be safer after the former Iraqi leader's capture.

"Senator Lieberman was my opponent in 2000 Al Gore's running mate, a longtime senator, and one of the most loyal and distinguished Democrats of his generation," said Cheney. "Joe is also an unapologetic supporter of the fight against terror."

The vice president championed the Democratic senator for his "courage to stick" to his convictions, with regards to the war in Iraq.

"He voted to support military action in Iraq when most senators in both parties did the same and he's had the courage to stick by that vote even when things got tough," Cheney explained. "And now, for that reason alone, the Dean Democrats have purged Joe Lieberman from the Democratic Party."

Many Lamont supporters have also criticized Lieberman for suggesting that it's improper to criticize a president during wartime.

"Their choice, instead, is a candidate whose explicit goal is to give up the fight against the terrorists in Iraq never mind that Iraq is a fellow democracy; never mind that the Iraqi people and their elected leaders are counting on us," said Cheney.

Excerpts from transcript of Cheney's speech as released by the White House:

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VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Time and time again, we're seeing examples of Democratic Party leaders apparently having lost their perspective concerning the nature of the enemy we face, and the need to wage this fight aggressively. No sharper example can be found than the Democratic Party chairman himself, Howard Dean, who said the capture of Saddam Hussein did not make America any safer.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that such a party would turn its back on a man like Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. Senator Lieberman was my opponent in 2000 Al Gore's running mate, a longtime senator, and one of the most loyal and distinguished Democrats of his generation. Joe is also an unapologetic supporter of the fight against terror. He voted to support military action in Iraq when most senators in both parties did the same and he's had the courage to stick by that vote even when things got tough. And now, for that reason alone, the Dean Democrats have purged Joe Lieberman from the Democratic Party.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Boo! (Laughter.)

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Their choice, instead, is a candidate whose explicit goal is to give up the fight against the terrorists in Iraq never mind that Iraq is a fellow democracy; never mind that the Iraqi people and their elected leaders are counting on us. What these Democrats are pushing now is the very kind of retreat that has been tried and has failed in the past. It would be reckless and inconsistent with our values. It would betray our friends, and only heighten the danger to the United States. And it would mean that all the sacrifices of our military have been in vain. So the choice before the American people is becoming more clear every day. For the sake of our own security, this nation must reject any strategy of resignation and defeatism in the face of determined enemies. (Applause.)

The case of Joe Lieberman is a perfect illustration of the basic philosophical difference between the two parties in the year 2006. And it's a reminder that the elections on November 7th will have enormous consequences for this nation, one way or the other. In all the decisions that will come in the next two years, it's going to matter a great deal which party has the majority on the floor and the gavel in committee. And I don't need to tell you what kind of legislation would come to us by way of committee chairmen like Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, John Conyers, Henry Waxman, Barney Frank, or Jay Rockefeller. (Laughter.)

The stakes in this campaign are high, not just for the political parties but for the country. And that's what brings us all together today. We're here because of the principles we hold, the values we share, and the direction we believe is best for the nation. We have a great President living in the White House, and he deserves a Congress that works with him, not against him. (Applause.)

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