Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) hosted a cocktail function in Washington on May 20 to raise money for his 2004 presidential campaign. The reception included many students and was held at the Grille 88 restaurant in Dupont Circle.
The event was “geared primarily to young professionals in the D.C. area”, said GW junior Lauren Marks, one of two student co-hosts.
About 150 to 180 people attended the event, where Lieberman appeared happy and at ease among his supporters, who were mingling with other guests and buying drinks from the bar. The event cost $25 for students and $50 for all other guests.
Lieberman delivered a brief speech, mainly criticizing the George W. Bush administration.
“The (administration has) polarized our country at a time when it should be united,” he said.
He discussed the Republicans’ lack of economic leadership and emphasized the need to “get back on the track to fiscal responsibility.”
He said that 75,000 Americans lost their jobs during the Bush administration, and “only one American should lose his job, and that is George W. Bush.” His comment was followed by laughter and loud applause from the crowd.
Lieberman told The Hatchet he is mainly critical of the current administration’s economic policies.
“They haven’t given us any leadership on the economy and really divided the country,” he said.
Lieberman said during his speech that he can win the election for the Democrats next year.
Lieberman is facing competition from seven other candidates for the Democratic nomination including Sens. John Kerry (Mass.) and John Edwards (N.C.), but is leading early polls because of his name recognition from the 2000 race. Lieberman is running as a more centrist candidate and did not appear at a gathering last week, sponsored by the liberal wing of the Democratic party.
“I know I can beat George W. Bush. Why? Because Al Gore and I already did,” he said. Lieberman ran for vice president on Gore’s ticket and the team won the popular vote by more than 500,000 ballots, losing in the electoral college.
But some attendees said they were not confident about a future victory because of Lieberman’s conservative stance on certain social issues.
“His positions on censorship will alienate too many Democrats to make him a viable candidate,” said Nicholas Salvatore, a liberal activist and local journalist who attended the fundraiser.
Lieberman is an advocate of certain types of television censorship. He led the successful effort to include a V-chip in every television in the United States, which allows parents to control what their children watch by establishing television program ratings. The ratings tell parents how appropriate shows are in terms of sexual and violent content.
But other supporters said Lieberman will gain a significant amount of support, despite his views on censorship.
“I think people should vote for him because he’s a man of morals and values,” Marks said.
Concerning censorship, Lieberman’s supporters said the candidate wants to shield children from the potential influences of violence in the media.
“It has been proven that children who watch violence on TV are more likely to be violent, so I agree with his position” said Lauren Schor, the reception’s other student co-host.