- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 8, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) He stood up for first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton when she was accused of anti-Semitism, and he stood next to her when she met with Orthodox rabbis.
Now Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's name will appear along with Mrs. Clinton's on every ballot in New York. And that could help her get Jewish votes she desperately needs against Republican Rep. Rick Lazio.
"Hillary has got to be smiling today," said Democratic state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, an Orthodox Jew who has not yet made an endorsement in the Senate race and has criticized Mrs. Clinton for some of her positions on Jewish issues.
Vice President Al Gore selected Mr. Lieberman, the Democratic senator from Connecticut, as his running mate yesterday.
"Someone like Lieberman, who is deeply respected, is going to make a lot of independent-minded people take a second look at the Democrats," Mr. Hikind said.
"Clearly, it's good news for Hillary," said Lee Miringoff, pollster for the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. "She's having trouble with the Jewish vote. This will start off a larger number of Jews on the Gore-Lieberman-Clinton line."
"Also, we can expect a larger Jewish turnout. It's not a guarantee of success, but it shifts everything to a more favorable terrain for her," Mr. Miringoff said.
Polls show voters overall are nearly evenly divided between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Lazio. Jews make up 12 percent of the New York electorate, but about 15 percent of them are undecided, so winning their support could help win the race.
The first lady has had problems with Jewish issues and voters.
She called for a Palestinian state when it was contrary to U.S. policy and sat silently during a meeting with Suha Arafat while the wife of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat accused Israel of poisoning Palestinian children.
A book released last month accuses Mrs. Clinton of calling campaign manager Paul Fray a "Jew bastard" on the night Bill Clinton lost a congressional election in 1974 a charge many conservative Jewish leaders, including Mr. Hikind, said they believed.
Mr. Lieberman defended Mrs. Clinton against the anti-Semitic obscenity charge, and in December, the Connecticut senator accompanied the first lady to a meeting with the Orthodox Union, which represents Orthodox synagogues.
Mr. Lieberman's friendship with the Clintons goes back to 1970, when President Clinton then a Yale Law student campaigned for Mr. Lieberman's state Senate election.
By yesterday afternoon, New York Democrats were already gleefully linking the first lady's name with his.
"Al Gore, Joe Lieberman and Hillary Clinton will be a strong and effective team," said state party Chairwoman Judith Hope.
But not everyone thinks Mrs. Clinton will get a bounce from Mr. Lieberman's candidacy.
Yaakov Kornreich, who works for the National Council of Young Israel, which is based in New York and represents 150 Orthodox synagogues nationwide, noted that Mr. Lieberman is best known for having denounced the president's sexual escapades and said, "If we see the selection of Joe Lieberman as a repudiation of the Clinton White House, I don't see how that helps Hillary Clinton."
Nathan Diament, public policy director for the Orthodox Union, said that if Mr. Lieberman campaigned with Mrs. Clinton, "maybe that could impress some swing voters."
But he pointed out that "if Lazio and Clinton get in a debate about school choice, Lazio can say, 'Well, Sen. Lieberman voted for school choice.' " Mr. Lieberman supports tax-funded vouchers for private-school tuition; Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Gore do not. Mr. Lazio supports them in areas with failing public schools.
Lazio campaign spokesman Dan McLagan said that while Mr. Lieberman is "well-respected on both sides of the political aisle, I doubt it'll have any impact on the Senate race, because New Yorkers realize this is about Hillary Clinton and Rick Lazio, not who Al Gore's V.P. pick is."

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