Democrats nominate Gore for presidency
Lieberman accepts vice presidential nomination
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Democratic National Convention delegates have nominated Al Gore for president, capping off a Wednesday night that featured a speech by Gore's running mate, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman.
After being nominated by longtime friends -- actor Tommy Lee Jones and Lois DeBerry, a Tennessee state legislator -- the vice president's nomination was seconded by his eldest daughter, Karenna Gore Schiff.
"It gives me great joy and pride tonight to second the nomination of my father, Al Gore, for president of the United States," she said to the cheering crowd as a smiling Gore strode on stage to embrace her and wave to the crowd.
Only a short time earlier, Lieberman took to the podium and accepted the vice presidential nomination, saying that the "miraculous journey begins here and now."
"My friends, 10 days ago, with courage and friendship, Al Gore asked me to be his running mate," Lieberman said. "Tonight, I am so proud to stand as your candidate for vice president of the United States," he said to a cheering Staples Center crowd.
"I am humbled by this nomination and so grateful to Al Gore for choosing me, and I want you to know, I will work my heart out to make sure Al Gore is the next president of the United States."
Connecticut's junior senator took to the podium to deliver his nomination speech to chants of "Go Joe!" just moments after being introduced by his wife, Hadassah -- who said her husband was more than "just a regular Joe."
As anticipated, Lieberman touched upon the tenets of his Orthodox Jewish faith and remarked on lessons he learned in 1960s Mississippi as a civil rights worker -- a point underscored by Georgia Rep. John Lewis, himself a civil rights activist who first met Lieberman during that tumultuous time.
"This year, right here, we will nominate someone who marched with Martin Luther King in the March on Washington," said Lewis. "From our lips to God's ears, I believe that America is ready for Joe Lieberman, and Joe Lieberman is ready for America," he said, referring to the Jewish saying.
During his prime time acceptance speech, Lieberman laid out for convention delegates -- and the entire nation -- why he believes the Gore-Lieberman ticket should carry the November election, and to harken to his own roots as an activist in the civil rights movement.
"As every faith teaches us -- and as presidents from Lincoln to Roosevelt to Reagan to Clinton have reminded us -- we must as Americans, try to see our nation not just through our own eyes, but through the eyes of others," Lieberman said.
"In my life, I have seen the goodness of this great country through many sets of eyes," he said. "In the early 1960s, when I was a college student, I walked with Martin Luther King in the March on Washington," he said, noting that shortly thereafter he went to Mississippi to register African Americans to vote.
Vice Presidential candidate Senator Joe Lieberman speaks to the Democratic National Convention
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Gore-Lieberman speech at rally in Burbank, California
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"The people I met never forgot that in America, every time a barrier is broken, the doors of opportunity open wider for every single one of us, and I know that in a very personal way tonight," he said, referring to the fact that he is the first Jewish vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket.
"In my life I have tried to see this world through the eyes of those who have suffered discrimination," he noted, adding that is why he believes "that the time has come to tear down the remaining walls of discrimination in this nation based on race, gender, nationality or sexual orientation."
"And that's why I continue to say, when it comes to affirmative action, mend it, don't end it."
Gore-Lieberman rallying cry
After an opening ceremony Wednesday that began with Stevie Wonder singing the national anthem, the convention's evening session kicked off what the Democrats were touting as the "American Dialogue;" a series of rallying speeches and tributes to Gore and Lieberman.
"Americans are not looking for a rock star to be president. They want a serious man of substance," said California Gov. Gray Davis.
"What really matters is where the candidates stand on the issues. On the issues, in California, our opponents are on the wrong side and Al Gore and Joe Lieberman are on the right side," he said, noting that the Democratic ticket supports clean air, safe drinking water and improving public education.
Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska and Max Cleland of Georgia -- both of whom were wounded in the Vietnam War -- paid tribute to veterans. "Tonight, we celebrate those who have come from every corner of America to fight our battles on every continent in this world," Kerrey said.
"There is no force more liberating than the knowledge that you are fighting for others," Kerrey said. "I believe I speak for Max and every person who has ever served when I say I never felt more free than when I wore the uniform of our country."
Wednesday afternoon's session was flush with appearances by Democratic lawmakers, policy wonks and candidates of all stripes -- and the evening was no different as speaker after speaker presented Gore and Lieberman as fighters who would strive to improve the environment, gun safety and education, as well as increase access to health care and pass a victim's bill of rights.
"He will be the kind of president that our country deserves and our times demand. He will be the principled fighter for all the American people," Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said of Gore, after moderating a panel on health care and victim's rights. His comments were similar to those made by other of the evening speakers.
"I believe that support for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman is support for sound economic policy and a strong economy for years ahead," said former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who was rumored to be on the vice presidential short list. "I worked with Al Gore for six-and-a-half years ... and I was there when doing what was best also was politically hard."
The Gore-Lieberman ticket, it seemed, would propel the nation forward -- and help the party win majorities in Congress.
"In November, Al Gore will be elected president of the United States and we will take back the House,"
Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri
"In November, Al Gore will be elected president of the United States and we will take back the House," said Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri, the House Minority Leader, wielding a large gavel symbolizing the shift in House leadership from the GOP to the Democrats. "We will take back the House of Representatives," he said in response to delegates' chants of "take back the House."
The 41 Democratic women of the House, who appeared just moments earlier, made similar comments: "When Al Gore wins, we win, women win, America wins," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York
"To champion families, we need more Democratic women in the House, and we need Al Gore and Joe Lieberman in the White House," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut. "They will fight for us, they will fight for American families and we, the Democratic women of the House, will fight for them too."
Gore readying a speech of his own
Gore arrived in Southern California midday Wednesday and was joined at a Burbank airport rally by his vice presidential running mate. His plane touched down at 12:17 p.m. Pacific Time (3:17 p.m. ET).
"I am looking forward to addressing the nation and the convention tomorrow night about hard choices," Gore said during a rally with Lieberman, adding that he hoped to focus his nomination speech on vital issues. "You deserve to know what the candidates are proposing to do, so you can make a sound judgment."
As he arrived, Gore said his nomination acceptance speech would touch upon topics as diverse as proposed increases in teacher salaries; an increase in the national minimum wage; legal protections for medical patients fighting treatment decisions made by their health maintenance organizations; gun safety; environmental cleanup; and the addition of a prescription drug benefit to the federal Medicare health insurance program.
"We have to continue the prosperity and progress, and make the future that our children and grandchildren deserve," he said.
Day Three on the floor
On the floor of the Democratic National Convention early in the day Wednesday, a long line of Democratic office holders sang the praises of the Gore-Lieberman ticket, while looking to boost their own electoral fortunes heading into November's general election.
Rep. John Tanner of Tennessee, a conservative Democrat, said Gore would work to pay down the national debt, rather than using the federal budget surplus to finance tax cuts.
"The last president to pay off the national debt was Tennessee's Andrew Jackson," Tanner said. "Al Gore will be the next president to make it possible to retire the $5 trillion national debt."
Casper, Wyoming's, Dennis and Judy Shepard joined the myriad of activists and lawmakers who addressed the convention Wednesday. The two are the parents of gay college student Matthew Shepard, who was beaten to death in Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998. They called for the passage of an expanded federal hate crimes law that would include penalties for crimes based on sexual orientation.
"What happened to Matthew was a hate crime, pure and simple," Dennis Shepard said. "His murder could not be prosecuted as a hate crime, because sexual orientation was not part of the hate crime law."
"This is not a gay rights issue. This is a human rights issue," Shepard said.
One of the more notable of Wednesday's early speakers was Troy Brown of Mississippi, an African-American candidate who is seeking to oust Majority Leader Trent Lott from the United States Senate.
The towering Brown stood over the convention podium, and held a staff over his head as he spoke.
"During the (National Rifle Association) convention, Charlton Heston held a musket over his head and declared, 'From my cold dead hands,'" Brown said.
"But when he picked up the musket, he laid down the staff. I'm picking up the staff," he declared. "Mister Senate Majority Leader, let my people go."
Wednesday, August 16, 2000
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