- The Washington Times - Monday, August 5, 2002

Al Gore's 2000 running mate said yesterday that Mr. Gore's populist themes did not accurately reflect the Democrats' pro-growth campaign for the White House.
"The 'People versus the Powerful' theme was too subject to misunderstanding and not representative" of the economic growth that occurred during the 1990s under Mr. Gore's own administration, said Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat.
The populist stance, Mr. Lieberman said yesterday on "Fox News Sunday," was "also not expressive of the fiscally responsible, pro-growth, grow-the-middle-class campaign we were running" that included targeted tax cuts and other more-conservative proposals championed by the Democratic Leadership Council.
Mr. Lieberman was responding to a statement Mr. Gore released to reporters Saturday that was critical of Democrats who said Mr. Gore's approach made it harder in 2000 to attract middle-class swing voters.
Mr. Gore's statement did not mention Mr. Lieberman by name; Mr. Lieberman declined to criticize the former vice president directly on Fox and repeated his pledge that he will not run for the White House in 2004 if Mr. Gore does.
"Out of gratitude and out of friendship for the extraordinary opportunity that Al gave me to run with him in 2000, I've said that I will not run if he runs, and I will not," he said.
In his statement, also published as an op-ed column in yesterday's New York Times, Mr. Gore took issue with what he called "the suggestion from some in our party that we should no longer speak the truth."
"This struggle between the people and the powerful was at the heart of every major domestic issue of the 2000 campaign and is still the central dynamic of politics in 2002," Mr. Gore said.
Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, said Mr. Gore "took a shot, I thought, at his old vice-presidential running mate." Mr. Lott said Mr. Gore's focus on "old class warfare" was a major reason the Democrats no longer hold the White House.
"It was the old, failed politics that helped him lose that last election," Mr. Lott said on ABC's "This Week."
On the same program, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said Mr. Gore, Mr. Lieberman and other Democrats should concentrate on the economy and issues such as retirement security in the fall congressional campaigns.
"You know, the president has said that you could describe his economic plan in one word: jobs. Well, we've lost 1.7 million jobs since this administration took office. So that's where we have to put our focus," said Mr. Daschle, South Dakota Democrat.
Mr. Lieberman said that he does not reject Mr. Gore's populism in total, particularly in light of repeated recent instances of corporate wrongdoing and shady accounting practices.
About Mr. Gore's statement, Mr. Lieberman said he would have added "a word or two" that "we believe in a government that will stand up and fight for the people, for the public interest against the powerful private interests, including business, if they treat people unfairly."

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