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Sunday

Lieberman Fields Questions on Religion, Clinton, Differences With Gore

Aired August 13, 2000 - 5:02 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Al Gore's running mate, Senator Joseph Lieberman, returned to the electronic campaign trail this morning after taking time off for the Jewish sabbath.

CNN's Beth Fouhy reports on Lieberman's extensive appearances on the morning talk shows.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BETH FOUHY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bowing to a modern political hazing ritual, Joe Lieberman made the rounds of five network talk shows Sunday morning to be grilled about religion, President Clinton and his own views on issues, some of which differ sharply from Al Gore's.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There have been some differences of opinion between Al Gore and me, and I think it's a mark of his strength as a leader that he didn't look for somebody that agreed with him on everything.

FOUHY: Specifically, Lieberman stood by his support for an experimental school voucher program to let low-income parents use public money for private schools.

LIEBERMAN: I've always seen this as something temporary to help poor kids break out of failing schools while we are -- which -- none of us that can afford to take our kids out of failing schools would not do so, so why force the poor to do that? The ultimate answer here is to improve the public schools.

FOUHY: Lieberman also said he was once intrigued by the idea of partially privatizing Social Security, which is now a hallmark of the Bush campaign. He's recently come around to Gore's position on it, though, using Gore's own words.

LIEBERMAN: It was a risky scheme.

FOUHY: Lieberman says he wants to keep open the possibility of raising the eligibility age of Social Security. He opposes racial quotas but supports most goals of affirmative action. And he says as vice president he will continue to pressure the entertainment industry to clean up gratuitous sex and violence.

LIEBERMAN: I expect to continue, along with the president, Tipper and my wife, Hadassah, to speak for America's families.

FOUHY: It was on behalf of America's families, Lieberman said, that he took to the Senate floor to condemn President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. And while he still believes Clinton should have been censured for his behavior, he called on Republicans to stop making the president a campaign issue.

LIEBERMAN: The personal mistakes that President Clinton made are history. And it's obvious that -- and really it's unfair to try to link those to Al Gore.

FOUHY: The first Orthodox Jew on a national ticket, Lieberman defended his open expression of religious faith this week, beginning with his first appearance with Gore in Nashville.

LIEBERMAN: I'm standing there feeling a sense of miracle that the vice president had asked me to be his running mate. I just felt so grateful that the words of prayer came out of me.

FOUHY: And when asked how he would handle the dilemma of celebrating Inauguration Day next year, which falls on a Saturday, the Jewish sabbath, Lieberman offered advice from his mother.

LIEBERMAN: Sweetheart, you should only have such a problem.

FOUHY: Beth Fouhy, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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