Lieberman outlines vision of 'next frontier'
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman attacked Republicans on taxes, health care, education, the environment and the military on Wednesday night and called on Americans to discover "the next frontier" within themselves.
The 58-year-old two-term senator from Connecticut, picked by presidential candidate Al Gore as the first Jewish person ever selected for the national ticket of a major party, delivered his acceptance speech to Democratic delegates in the city where John F. Kennedy invoked the spirit of a "New Frontier" in American politics 40 years ago.
Gore was nominated for president in a floor vote a short time later, with the pivotal state of Florida pushing him over the top. Lieberman, who will be officially nominated by acclamation later on Thursday, treated the nearly 5,000 delegates and alternates to inspirational family stories of:
--A father who rose from a childhood in an orphanage to put his son through college.
--A mother-in-law who survived the Holocaust and then escaped communist persecution behind the Iron Curtain.
--A grandmother "often harassed because of the way she worshipped God" as a Jew in Central Europe -- who immigrated to the United States and found a country where "she was accepted for who she was."
Lieberman recounts family experiences
He then asked his 85-year-old mother to stand up in the convention hall, thanked her and told her he loved her and said, "You and I know how proud dad would be tonight" -- at which point a man in the crowd hollered, "We love ya', Mom," and Lieberman repeated the sentiment himself.
Lieberman then launched into a point-by-point criticism of GOP positions as espoused at its recent convention in Philadelphia and rebutted some of most pointed attacks by their candidates, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
He took aim at Texas, where Bush has served two terms as governor, ranking it as a major polluter of the environment and the state with highest percentage of people who have no medical insurance.
He said Bush's education program -- his main domestic initiative -- sets high standards of performance and accountability but "doesn't provide the resources our schools need to meet those high standards."
Lieberman said the Republicans are offering a tax cut plan in which "the middle class gets a little and the wealthy get an awful lot" while Democrats plan a tax cut for the middle class and steps to preserve Social Security and Medicare.
Vice Presidential candidate Senator Joe Lieberman speaks to the Democratic National Convention
(QuickTime, Real or Windows Media)
Reversing the claim made by Bush and running mate Dick Cheney at the GOP convention, he said, "We Democrats will expand the prosperity. They will squander it."
"Two weeks ago, our Republican friends tried to walk and talk a lot like us -- did you notice?" Lieberman asked. "But let's be honest. We may be near Hollywood, but not since Tom Hanks won an Oscar has there been that much acting in Hollywood.
"I am glad the GOP has changed their rhetoric, but I wish they would also change their policies."
On the issue of the military, Lieberman extolled Gore as an Army veteran who volunteered and served in Vietnam. He said both men crossed party lines to support the Gulf War and said Gore "had the guts" to take the stand "that America's principles and interests were at stake in Bosnia and Kosovo."
"Two weeks ago, our opponent claimed that America has a hollow military," Lieberman said. "I must tell you, that made me angry.
"America -- you know better than that. Our fighting men and women are the best -trained, best-equipped, most potent fighting force in the history of the world, and they will stay that way when Al Gore and I are elected," he said to rousing cheers.
Lieberman invoked the spirit of Kennedy in the close of his address.
"It was 40 years ago when we came to this city and together crossed a new frontier with a leader who inspired me -- and so many in my generation -- into public service.
"Together, we return to this same great city with prosperity at home and freedom throughout the world that John F. Kennedy could have only dreamed about.
"We may wonder where the next frontier really is," he said.
"Tonight, I believe that the next frontier isn't just in front of us, but inside of us -- to overcome the differences that are still between us, to break down the barriers that remain and to help every American claim the possibilities of their own lives."
Wednesday, August 16, 2000
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