There’s the pragmatic – and oft times cynical – political endorsement game. And then there’s what happened last week in Waterbury, Conn.
Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, the third-term lawmaker who was almost vice president. Now his primary hopes are in serious jeopardy against (heretofore) little known Ned Lamont. So serious is the scenario that Lieberman says he will run as an independent if he loses on Aug. 8. Support for the war in Iraq is what has put Lieberman in political harm’s way. But being labeled a “Fox News Democrat” and being smooched by the president have further fueled the furor and backlash.
Clinton proved popular as a hustings helper and told an overflow crowd to look past the differences on Iraq and remember that Lieberman has been a loyal Democrat on issues ranging from organized labor to the environment. His praise was lavish.
Afterward, he put those principles – and that praise — into an appropriate political context. Should Lieberman lose and then run as an independent, Clinton acknowledged, he would back Lamont.