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Dem strategist: MoveOn to blame for Lieberman endorsing McCain
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Monday December 17, 2007
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The liberal activist group is to blame for Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-CT) backing of John McCain for president, according to one Democratic strategist who says the endorsement could have significant primary implications for Democratic contenders in New Hampshire.

In a Monday appearance on Fox News, longtime Democratic operative Bob Beckel said that MoveOn's successful push to see Lieberman defeated in his 2006 primary race was now coming back to bite Democrats.

"This is the Democrats pay for and others who drove Joe Lieberman out of the party," said Beckel. "They campaigned against him actively and raised money against him and he was beaten in the Democratic primary. ... now we're paying the price and all I can say is 'a pox on their house."

Many blogs have criticized Beckel, a former campaign manager for Walter Mondale and Robert F. Kennedy, since he began making regular appearances on Fox over the summer.

"Did Beckel pass up the opportunity to score points for what is supposed to be his own party because he 'didn't get it' or because he had a sincere desire to dis Biden or in order to curry favor with the conservatives at FOX News?" wrote the left-leaning News Hounds after one appearance, in which the strategist had agreed with Fox hosts that Democratic Senator Joe Biden and others "get a little bit more room" when it comes to minority support.

About Lieberman, Beckel suggested that the senator's endorsement of a Republican was more than just a nose-thumbing gesture from the former Democrat.

"Joe Lieberman's going to matter," said the strategist. "He's the best known Independent, particularly in New England, and it's going to matter because Independents in New Hampshire are the ones who decide, really, this election."

The senator's influence, he said, could also help Sen. McCain (R-AZ) to attract voters who may otherwise have backed Democrats in New Hampshire's key early primary.

"Independents can vote in the New Hampshire primary either for the Democrats or the Republicans," he said. "If they go into the Republican primary -- which they did in 2000, which helped McCain win then -- Joe Lieberman will help do that."

Fox News commentator and Democrat Tammy Bruce, a self-described "openly gay, pro-choice, gun owning, pro-death penalty, voted-for-President Bush authentic feminist," said her party had distanced itself from "authentic Democrats" like the "Kennedy version...or the Shriver version."

Lieberman's endorsement, she said, gave like-minded Democrats permission to look across party lines for a presidential candidate.

"What this endorsement does more than anything," Bruce said, "is it tells Democrats who don't like what they see on the Democratic front that it's okay to vote Republican...if you're a Democrat like me and you've already decided you're going to vote Republican, you already know who you like. But for those who might not quite know where to go, this is helpful to them."

This video is from Fox's America's Newsroom, broadcast on December 17, 2007.