Lieberman Lies, Leaps Into Gutter

by Paul Bass | June 26, 2006 10:38 AM | | Comments (28)

He did it with this new attack flyer mailed to Democratic voters…

Joe Lieberman’s reelection campaign for U.S. Senate has already been widely criticized, even by conservatives sympathetic to the candidate, for its low-grade attack tactics on Ned Lamont, the challenger seeking to wrest the Democratic Party nomination from the three-term senator in an Aug. 8 primary. In terms of outright lying, gutter graphics, and utterly misleading twisting of fact, the Lieberman campaign may have hit a new Rove-ian/Atwater-ian milestone with the two-sided glossy direct-mail flyer which Democratic voters in Connecticut started receiving at their homes on Saturday. It was the second glossy direct-mailer the Lieberman campaign sent within a week.

The Lie
“Ask Ned Lamont Why…” the back page begins.
One of the “ask whys” read as follows: “… He Hired The Former Republican Party Chairman To Run His Senate Campaign.”
Not true. Connecticut’s leading left-leaning Democratic Party activist, Tom Swan, runs the Ned Lamont campaign.
The flyer is referring to someone else, Tom D’Amore. D’Amore ran the state Republican Party in the 1980s. He quit in 1990 to help Lowell Weicker defeat the Republicans and win the governor’s office as an independent. D’Amore is a registered independent.
He in no way “runs” the Lamont campaign. The Lamont campaign did hire his firm, Doyle, D’Amore & Balducci (the third named partner being the former Democratic speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives), to do consulting work.
The Lieberman flyer cites me as a source for this lie: “Source: Paul Bass column, Hartford Courant, 3/26/06.”
Actually, my column in the Courant reported that D’Amore had signed on as a consultant, not that he would “run” or “manage” or in any way direct the campaign. (Apologies: That particular column, and an earlier, March 5, one on D’Amore and Lamont are no longer available on the Courant’s web site.)
The relevant point is that nowhere was it ever reported that D’Amore would run the campaign. That’s a crucial distinction. Lieberman is trying to fight back against the Lamont campaign’s argument that based on his support of the agenda of President Bush and right-wing Republicans in Washington on key issues, Lieberman isn’t a true Democrat. So it has tried to portray Lamont — who, in direct contrast to Lieberman, is running against the Iraq war, against Lieberman-supported Bush nominees like U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, against the Bush-Cheney energy bill, for universal health care — as the Republican in the race.
As is widely and publicly known, Lamont’s campaign manager, the person who works full-time running every aspect of the effort day to day and is in charge of strategy, is Swan. He’s on leave from his regular job as director of the state’s leading liberal advocacy organization at the Capitol, the Connecticut Citizen Action Group.
“For the record,” Swan said Monday, “I have never been chairman of the state Republican Party.”
D’Amore was. He quit the party in 1990 as it continued its rightward drift. In working to elect Weicker governor that year, D’Amore helped prevent Republican John G. Rowland from becoming governor instead.
“There’s only one person who’s hated more than Tom D’Amore by institutional Republicans in this state,” Swan noted. That would be Weicker himself.
D’Amore said the Lamont campaign pays his firm “seven or eight thousand dollars a month” to consult on “strategic planning and communications strategy.”
He said he did re-register for one day as a Republican, in 2000, to vote for John McCain in that year’s presidential primary. He then immediately returned his registration to independent.
Swan said D’Amore’s role includes helping to plan for the general election. The Lamont campaign expects to win the Democratic primary and then face Lieberman if, as expected, he runs as an independent petition-candidate in November, Swan said. Independents are the state’s largest voting bloc. D’Amore’s experience winning a statewide campaign for an independent-line gubernatorial candidate would come in handy there.
Lieberman was asked about the flyer as he departed from an appearance Monday at the state AFL-CIO convention at New Haven’s Omni Hotel.
“That’s a real quibble,” he said. “Clearly,” D’Amore will play a leading role in the Lamont campaign, he argued. “When it comes to negotiating” terms for the candidates’ upcoming debate, Lieberman said, he fully expects D’Amore to be at the table.
Lieberman spokeswoman Marion Steinfels defended the D’Amore reference.
“Ned Lamont has signed up a team of folks who worked over the years to defeat Democratic candidates. That is the point we are trying to make, and we are making,” Steinfels argued. She mentioned, in addition to D’Amore, Bill Hillsman, a Minneapolis ad-man whose previous clients included Ralph Nader, who ran as a Green against the Gore-Lieberman presidential ticket in 2000.
“Ned Lamont has been running a negative” campaign, Steinfels continued. “Every one of his campaign ads but one of them has been attacking Joe Lieberman.”

Zombie Graphics
The other striking aspect of the new attack flyler is the graphic on the back page. The front page features an unflattering photo of Lamont, grainy, but at least in color. The back page photo (shown at the top of this story) turns him into a black-and-white walk-on straight out of Night of the Living Dead, complete with photograph-negative reproduction.
Of course, this flyer does not appear on Lieberman’s campaign web site. In his personal appearances and interviews, Lieberman continues to claim he supports “bipartisan” politics that rises above nasty, personal attack ads.
“Here’s a man who is a sitting U.S. senator, who has been a candidate for vice-president. He ran for president. And he’s behaving like some lowlife,” Tom D’Amore remarked Monday morning in the wake of the new flyer. “It’s just amazing. This is, pardon the pun, really Bush-league policy.
“That’s a pretty good pun, actually.”
“It shows the senator is desperate,” Tom Swan said. It shouldn’t be surprising that George Bush’s favorite Democrat would resort to Karl Rove tactics.”
Lieberman spokeswoman Steinfels defended the flyer’s use of photographs, too.
“I’m sure that after trading in his Lexus convertible and dropping his country club membership, he had some pictures taken to look more the part that he’s trying to play in the campaign,” she said of Lamont. “If he wants to send them over to us, we would definitely take a look at them.”


This is a flattering photo of U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman. We could have altered him and made his face look scary and ugly and grainy in order to take issue with his views or his record, but only a sleazy gutter Beltway-style political campaign would stoop to those tactics.







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Posted by: Cynthia | June 26, 2006 10:56 AM

"This is a nice photo of U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman. We could have altered him and made his face look scary and ugly,"

No need, he looks plenty scary. You begin to see it when you realize he stands for nothing.

Posted by: spazeboy | June 26, 2006 11:39 AM

Paul Bass, you are the man.

The March 26 and March 5 columns from the Courant are archived at Iconn.org Connecticut readers will need to log-in with their library card number, and out of state readers are unfortunately out of luck.

www.iconn.org
March 26 Column - ProQuest Document ID 1010086161
March 5 Column - ProQuest Document ID 997413601

I hope that's helpful for readers who are truly interested in reading the original columns, and for my friend Marion Steinfels who needs help sorting the facts out.

Posted by: photo expert | June 26, 2006 12:00 PM

FYI, It appears to be not a photo-negative image of Lamont on the back of the flyer, but a flash photo with retinal reflections.

Posted by: rising sign | June 26, 2006 1:17 PM

Sadly, that actually IS a good picture of Lieberman.

Posted by: Mary | June 26, 2006 1:41 PM

Thanks for calling out this phoney "gentleman." Anyone who's followed Lieberman's career know he's anything but. It should be no surprise to any of us that he would resort to Rovian tactics and I predict we've only begun to see what's in his bag of tricks.

I can't wait till we rid CT of this war-loving, chickenhawk. I worked for his first campaign but now, I intend to correct my mistake.

Excellent reporting. Please keep the pressure on.

Posted by: John D. | June 26, 2006 1:57 PM

It's not really a flattering photo, but then, you're just presenting Lieberman as he is. There's no need for dramatics.

Looking into that cringing Droopy Dawg countenance brings to mind the old quote about the banality of evil. So it is kinda scary, in its way...

Posted by: Met00 | June 26, 2006 2:14 PM

I'm shocked.

“Ned Lamont has been running a negative" campaign, Steinfels continued. "Every one of his campaign ads but one of them has been attacking Joe Lieberman.�

The ad in release today must be the type of "attack ads" that she is talking about. In it the quotes used are Joe Lieberman speaking full and complete thoughts in Joe Liebermans own words. But the message is clear in the ad, as Joe says that Democrats shouldn't attack the President and that all is good in Bushworld.

It's not like Lamont has sent out an ad that said that Joe Lieberman votes with the GOP on cloture votes (which most organizations that track votes don't record) and then votes with the Dems on the final vote (which these organizations do record, so these groups give him nice ratings when he really is a Benedict Arnold). Really, he does that? Yep. He does.

But we all should know that Lamont, according to Lieberman, when he was a non-partisan selectman voted in non-partisan votes for more funding for schools, more funding for the library and other mischaracterized votes which were so downright misleading as to be lies. But those ads weren't in any way, shape or form attack ads, because the moral goodness of Joe Lieberman wouldn't allow for that. They were educational (even though they were basically false and misleading), and we know Joe believes in education, because he is still a supporter of a voucher system that would kill it.

Posted by: John Zengerite | June 26, 2006 2:53 PM

So let me get this, the crux of all this is that Lieberman doesn't tell the whole truth in his campaign literature. Joe tells the voters in a recent mailer that Ned Lamont's campaign is being run by the former head of the Connecticut Republican party, Tom D'Amore. This is almost technically true. D'Amore is not "running the campaign", but he is a consultant to the campaign. D'Amore may be a hated-within-the-party ex-Republican who defected with Lowell Weicker in 1990...but he was the chairman indeed. True. Maybe a bit misleading, but true.

(And I don't know if D'Amore is the "only one person who's hated more than Tom D'Amore by institutional Republicans in this state [only to Lowell Weicker]," as Mr. Swan, Lamont's campaign manager is quoted by you as saying. Republicans feel the same way about Tom D'Amore that Democrats do about Bruce Morrison. They barely remember him.)

I am shocked, shocked to find out that there is gambling in this establishment. What a horrifying attack, made up on only mostly facts.

To call this tactic Rovian or Atwaterian, as you do, is more misleading than say, a Joe Lieberman political pamphlet. First of all, every candidate stretches facts- research Bill Clinton's destruction of Paul Tsongas in Florida over entitlements. Or research the history of every political candidacy, with the exception of the fictional character played by Redford.

Second, this isn't on the same level push-polling or "race-baiting"- as some would define Rovian / Atwaterian tactics. This is plain vanilla politics- if Ned Lamont can't handle it and respond appropriately, he shouldn't be in the major leagues.

Karl Rove has become a political shorthand, a curse word used in place of descriptive language, like Halliburton. Come after Joe Lieberman for his tactics, but put them in proper perspective.

I do credit you for culling the point out that while Lieberman may have turned negative (and this may be a bad tactical move, but that's a different discussion), the entire Ned Lamont campaign is a negative referendum.

A lot of people equate Ned Lamont to "other" or even "Donald Duck" (see today's Time Mag piece we linked to in a previous post)- he's the anti-Joe- and no matter what he says about his credentials, he rises or falls on whether the voters are up-and-down on Joe.

Lamont's positive self-definition about his own character merely serves to prove that he meets a minimum threshold for qualification. In reality, he's no more qualified than Brooks Johnson (remember him?), the Fairfield County millionaire who ran against Chris Dodd back in the 1990s. Lamont's position on the issues boils down to one sentence, where the words "Joe, Lieberman and Iraq" always appear.

So negative begets negative. So, what is your point? Now that you've uncovered this "scandal", tell us what it really means.

Posted by: mencken | June 26, 2006 3:09 PM

jeez, lieberman's campaign team's statements don't even pass the laugh test.

he and they are truly pathetic.

Posted by: Joe | June 26, 2006 4:06 PM

I like the zombie-devil eyes in the Lamont photo! He's got my vote!

Posted by: nomoneydown | June 26, 2006 4:28 PM

It's great to see the party giving itself an enema Mr Lieberman is a good start if we have hope's for 2008.

Posted by: expatjourno [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 26, 2006 5:23 PM

Too bad Lieberman didn't campaign this hard in 2000. I guess he's rather a Republican win than another Democrat.

Posted by: TrueBlueCT | June 26, 2006 5:24 PM

Zanegerite--

I have another mailing from Joe Lieberman, right here in my hands. You tell me, is it a lie when:

1) Lieberman claims he stood up to Bush on Energy and the Environment. (Joe was the only Senator from Delaware to New Hamsphire who voted for the Bush Energy Bill. Heck, even three New England Republicans voted against the giveaway to big Corporations.

2) Lieberman claims he helped stop Bush's plan to begin privatizing Social Security. (Joe was "listening" to Bush for as long as he could, even when Rosa DeLauro and John Larson were holding rallies to help save it. Joe was the last Democrat to commit against Bush's plan.)

3) Parrots Howard Dean by saying, "Join me in Taking Back Our Country."

Etc., Etc, Etc. Campaign Manager Sean Smith is doing one thing only, --trying to muddy the waters and confuse Democratic voters. You say this is just politics. I call it despicable, especially from someone who has billed himself as a man of integrity.

Finally, can you tell me why Lieberman voted for the Bush Energy Bill? I'd ask Joe himself, but of course he's not holding public forums....

Posted by: Craig | June 26, 2006 6:00 PM

Thank you! We need more reporters like you standing up and speaking out against negative campaigning.

Posted by: Jim | June 27, 2006 12:44 AM

Hogwash, you lefties have done a great job at marginalizing the Democratic party to a permanent minority party. Do the math - the 25% of the population that shares your ideaology can not win general elections. Your actions have only helped to push moderates like me out of the party.

Posted by: progressaurus rex | June 27, 2006 12:49 AM

mr. zengerite,
that's a heckuva lot of parsing in your first paragraph, to finally reach the overwhelmingly relieving conclusion that the lieberman campaign are only "maybe a bit misleading". it would almost seem as if you were here to do damage control.

a few questions: how exactly is something "maybe a bit misleading, but true"?

is "almost technically true" now the gold standard for truth in politics?

finally, i think your argument "he's anti-joe" carries no water (and you're leaving out the obvious point that almost any election where there's an incumbent is, in effect, a referendum on the job the incumbent has done -- notable exception: the 2004 presidential election. nice use of rovian tactics there, wonder if the lieberman camp noticed?). one can only look at the positions of the two candidates and see that there are distinct differences aside from the war.

why, exactly is giving democrats the opportunity to vote for someone more ideologically similar to their views a negative thing? this is a fair referendum, and a fine example of democracy in action. framing the whole affair as "negative" would seem to advocate the political fiefdoms we've known for far too long and the suppression of democracy in general.

as far as i've seen joe lieberman and even the dscc are fine with that. so who is actually the "negative" part of this equation?

just curious.

Posted by: CTPatriot | June 27, 2006 7:46 AM

Zengerite: Nice attempt at redefining Karl Rove politics in order to try and make LIEberman's tactics appear more "plain vanilla politics". Anything that involves dirty campaigning - attacks using lies and deception - in my book, qualifies as classic Rovian politics.

Your claim that it must rise to the level of push polling to qualify is absolutely laughable. Either you've been living on some other planet for the last 5 years, or you're post is as intentionally deceptive as LIEberman's attacks on Lamont. My money's on the latter.

Posted by: Cheri Cercone | June 27, 2006 10:11 AM

I've got a Lamont bumper sticker on my bike so I'm really supporting this man. Do we know of any community support meetings to discuss Lamont v. Lieberman? Any in the Westville area?

Posted by: tparty | June 27, 2006 10:18 AM

Lieberman yesterday on his false claim that D'Amore was "running" Lamont's campaign (from the Courant):

---

Lieberman had fired his own salvo over the weekend, falsely claiming in a mailing to Democrats that Lamont's campaign is being run by a former Republican state chairman.

Lamont's campaign is being run by Tom Swan, a liberal Democratic activist. Swan did hire Thomas D'Amore, a former GOP chairman and aide to former Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr., as an adviser - and that was close enough for Lieberman.

"That's a real quibble, isn't it?" Lieberman said. "A former Republican state chairman is playing a central role in the Lamont campaign."

Posted by: Anne-Marie Sutton | June 27, 2006 1:25 PM

Another interesting thing about Lieberman's anti-Lamont mailings. They cite his "progressive ratings" and specifically say his NARAL rating is 95%. This rating is complied by looking at his votes over his entire Senate career. 2006 voters should know that his 2005 NARAL rating was only 75%.

Posted by: progressaurus rex | June 27, 2006 8:51 PM

jim,
do you think that the 27% of americans that identify themselves as "christian conservatives" are helping republicans keep "moderates" like yourself in their party? "do the math"...these are the same people that are (inaccurately) attributed as having given bush the election in 2004, and they are viewed as so important to republicans that no viable candidate for national elective office from that party can afford to lose their support. so here you have the republicans, literally embracing their lunatic fringe (at the expense of their party's stated principles of smaller, less intrusive government - see: gay marriage, flag burning, out of control spending), and yet succeeding at it in terms of success at the polls.

democrats, on the contrary, have been losing elections specifically for the opposite reason than you suggest: they dilute their message, in hopes of winning over "moderates" like yourself, only to disillusion their base and ultimately not appear to clearly represent an identifiable ideology.

you call people here "lefties" but i, as another "moderate", see a far greater danger to america from the radical religious wing of the republican party -- many of whom openly advocate an anti-constitutional theocracy. as far as i can tell, getting "lefties" unified behind a message and a course of action is about as easy as herding cats.

it seems as though you're buying in to the right-wing talking points, jim, which is another strength of the republican party -- conveying a clear and easy to understand message that people like you can buy into, no matter how far from reality it is ("smaller government and less spending", "liberals are bad", "flip-flop", "don't play the blame game", "cut & run", "if you don't support the war then you're anti-troops", and countless others). this is known as demagoguery.

so if you get a moment, and are still around to read this, please explain to me what the ideology of "lefties" is (according to lefties, and not limbaugh, coulter, hannity, o'reilly or any of that rabble). if you can do that, you'll be doing a hell of a better job of it than any democrat i've seen lately.

Posted by: Chris | June 28, 2006 2:03 PM

"Hogwash, you lefties have done a great job at marginalizing the Democratic party to a permanent minority party. Do the math - the 25% of the population that shares your ideaology can not win general elections. Your actions have only helped to push moderates like me out of the party."

Oh man, not the phony "I was a democrat.." bunk. It was old when RW talk radio shill callers pulled it back in the early nineties and it hasn't aged well. Tell your handlers to come up with a new line of bunkem.

Posted by: Dumpjoelieberman | June 29, 2006 5:56 AM

CHERI:

www.moveon.org and www.dfalink.org have organizing tools where you can search for events supporting Ned Lamont's campaign.

www.nedlamont.com has contact information for the New Haven office which is at the corner of Church and Elm downtown.

The campaign is encouraging use of their Friends and Family contact tool, via the website. Absent a meeting in Westville, talk to people you know, when they support Joe ask why or ask how they feel about specific positions he has taken. Then they will ask you for a Lamont bumper sticker.

I am in Westville. I have a Lamont lawn sign in my front porch window. You could do that too.
--------------------------------------------
Posted by: Cheri Cercone | June 27, 2006 10:11 AM

I've got a Lamont bumper sticker on my bike so I'm really supporting this man. Do we know of any community support meetings to discuss Lamont v. Lieberman? Any in the Westville area?

Posted by: cwhig | June 30, 2006 3:02 PM

The latest glossy Lieberman flyer to land in my mailbox shrilly attacks Lamont for coming "from a family of prominent wealth" and owning "a $60,000 Lexus convertible." It also denounces Lamont for siding with Republicans in Greenwich while a town selectman. Aside from employing the same appeals to "class warfare" and "rampant partisanship" that Joe has denounced all through his senate career, it's a little odd to see him running against Lamont on precisely the issue that he has made his signature theme. Hmm--maybe Joe's campaign slogan should be "Don't Change DINOs in the Middle of the Stream."

Actually, it's pretty damn sad.

Posted by: Political Observer | June 30, 2006 8:55 PM

Pretty funny watching all you dumocrats ripping each other up. Still all upset with Carl Rove over his brilliant wins in 00, 02 and 04, pretty typical that you overlook his brilliance in your bitterness instead of stepping back to see that in fact he was on the winning side no matter your thoughts. Ever think about learning something from others? Oh yes I can hear you all now, you would never want to be like that.... a winner, yes the bottom line, a winner.

Well I happen to have respected Joe Lieberman for many years although he is certainly not of my party, despite what many of you may think he's still not in my party folks. He is though a person of integrity for the most part, unlike most of your party. The party that demands abortion on demand, yes the murder of unborn children. Come on folks look at how your party did in New orleans, look at the disaster exposed after Katrina! The ultimate democratic city, wefare without bounds for decades, endless goverment waste and corruption (all democratic, no republicans down there) the mayor a total failure who left the people to die, a governor who refused to let the fed's step in until it was way to late in the game. Oh wait all the dumocrats want to pretend all that didn't happen and just blame it all on Bush. Who care's about facts when your a democrat anyway right?
Well I'm sure this is probably too offensive to be left posted and will be deleted soon as we all know that the left only believes in free speach when it suits them.
But if you find me offensive, just think of what Mary Jo thought of Teddy.....

Posted by: Jim | July 11, 2006 1:56 AM

Rex,

I just revisted this site after a brief hiatus and see that I struck a nerve. No, I haven't bought into right wing demagoguery. I am able to discern the facts as I see them. You seem to imply Democrats can win again if they just get out the vote and "stay on message" when the real problem is with the message itself. The fact of the matter is the last Democratic president we had was a southern moderate straight out of the DLC. Before that was Jimmy Carter - another southern Democrat. Do I need to go on........

The term "lefties" implies those from the ACLU crowd, the abortion on demand folks who favor gay marriage while undermining traditional family structure. They believe we could stop crime by making it harder for law abiding citizens to have guns for recreational use instead of punishing those who use them illegally. Lefties despise the military and feel it would be better served for peace keeping than national defense. They often see the worst in this country instead of the all the great things it has to offer (take a trip to India and you will see what I mean). They are typically from a different mold than conventional democrats in that they are affluent yet they feel guilty for it a.k.a Hollywood. Traditional Democrats like Truman and Kennedy wouldn't recognize the party today, and of those who are still alive to see it, many have left. Just look at the voting stats - Republicans now match Democrats in registration whereas there was a 15% point gap 25 years ago. Instead of facing the facts you attribute it to dummies who buy in to Republican tactics. The coffee is brewing but the libs ain't smelling any of it.

BTW - Chris, I don't have handlers and it's no line. I was president of the UConn College Deomcrats from 1992-1994 and worked to get Bill Clinton elected. I was member of my Democratic Town Committe and was appointed to the town Planning Commission (D) when I was still a senior in high school. I also was a delegate to the CT State Democratic Convention in 1994 - the year Larson was nominated. So, sorry pal you lose on this one. There are lots of folks like me out there, you just don't want to hear it. But you can't deny hearing it at the polls every four years, and that will continue for some time to come. The Democratic party is no longer a national party. What a shame.........

Posted by: Itsjustmema | August 3, 2006 7:20 PM

Oh How I wish I xcould be a connecticut resident to vote against Lieberman!!!! The man I once supported for VP Guess Republikans were right. He is a sore looser!

Lets cut to the heart of the matter.. a vote for Lieberman is an endorsement of Bush/Cheney..his deliberate wars, his attack on the Constitution, his willingness to lie, his failure to protect our borders, the massive deficits, the needless deaths of thousands, the destruction of American morality, his arrogant stupidity, his deliberate policy of dividing the country, his criminal flounting of the law and his pal Dick Cheney and the list of lies attributable to him too.
Well today Smilin' Joe criticized the handling of the war....Hey Joe Do you think we are all as dumb as Bush supporters?

Posted by: vietnameravet | August 3, 2006 7:23 PM

Hey Rex drop that bs about lefties hating the military. If YOU and the right wing really cared about the military you would not want them sent into a foolish war of choice by an ignorant arrogant President for false reasons.

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