Lieberman Gets Offensive, Lamont Gets Kerry

Ned Lamont is finding out that sometimes it pays to be the establishment candidate. In response to more attacks from Joe Lieberman’s campaign depicting him as a “waffler” on Iraq, John Kerry weighed in to defend Lamont and take a shot at Lieberman.

“No matter how much Senator Lieberman pretends otherwise, as we were debating a Senate resolution to change course on Iraq, our intelligence agencies were telling this Administration that America is less safe and more endangered by terrorists because of the failed stay-the-course policies in Iraq. There’s just no excuse for continuing the old line that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror when in fact we know Iraq is a recruiting poster for terrorists while the real war on terror in Afghanistan spirals downwards,” Kerry said in the statement. (Full text after the jump.)

Lieberman’s campaign has been staying on the offensive over Ned Lamont’s Iraq proposals in hopes of neutralizing the issue that the Connecticut millionaire rode to victory in last month’s primary. Earlier, the Lieberman campaign ridiculed Lamont, saying he had taken “four positions in one day on the one issue of his one-issue campaign.”

According to the Lieberman campaign, Lamont said that he still backed the Kerry-Feingold plan which calls for a comprehensive exit from Iraq nine-months from now, but also said he supported a timeline of 12 months, 18 months, or the time period that the military’s generals suggest.

This sort of attack wouldn’t hurt Lamont, of course, if this were the primary and he were only appealing to voters who wanted out of Iraq. But Lamont also needs to chase Independent voters in the general, and Lieberman is betting that they just might be uncomfortable enough with him simply to “go with who you know.”

–Jason Horowitz

Senator John Kerry on Connecticut’s Iraq Debate

Iraq has been a national security disaster and a terrible set-back in the war on terror. As Robert Kennedy said of Vietnam, there is enough blame to go around. We must all accept our responsibility to change course. We don’t need misleading speeches. We don’t need slogans. We need leaders who will tell it straight and stand up to this administration and say it’s time to change course. Ned Lamont is providing that kind of leadership.

Senator Lieberman and I disagree deeply and profoundly on Iraq. No matter how much Senator Lieberman pretends otherwise, as we were debating a Senate resolution to change course on Iraq, our intelligence agencies were telling this Administration that America is less safe and more endangered by terrorists because of the failed stay-the-course policies in Iraq. There’s just no excuse for continuing the old line that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror when in fact we know Iraq is a recruiting poster for terrorists while the real war on terror in Afghanistan spirals downwards.

The maxim that we’ll stand down as Iraqis stand up is a myth. We need a deadline for the redeployment of American troops to force Iraqis to stand up for Iraq. Aimless talk of stay the course is making things worse. Every time the Administration says we’ll stay as long as it takes is an excuse for Iraqis to take as long as they want. We are stuck in a growing civil war that sets us back in the war on terror. It does a disservice to our troops to stick with a broken policy over and over again and expect different results. We need leadership with the courage to change course.