Tags: Lieberman | Praises | Bush | Chides | Kerry

Lieberman Praises Bush, Chides Kerry

Thursday, 14 October 2004 12:00 AM

"We are dealing with a president who's had a record of strong, consistent support for Israel. You can't say otherwise,” Lieberman told an audience of 600 near Delray Beach, Fla, the Palm Beach Post reported in editions Thursday.

Lieberman also added that any criticism of Bush vis-à-vis Israel would be “unjustified.”

After the speech, the paper said Lieberman spoke to reporters and suggested that “Bush appears to have made inroads with Jewish voters, who voted Democratic by an estimated 4-to-1 margin in 2000.”

But Lieberman indicated Kerry’s support among Jews may be softer, and he chided the Democratic nominee for not coming out more strongly for Israel.

“And I think John Kerry, to reassure people, has to himself be explicit" rather than having surrogates deliver the message, the Post quoted Lieberman as saying.

Lieberman alluded to worries among Jews about Kerry’s position on Israel. Lieberman bluntly revealed that he has asked the Kerry campaign to have John Kerry himself discuss his views on Israel because "only John Kerry can eliminate those doubts."

Lieberman made clear he is still staunchly supporting Kerry for president.

"I am here to tell you that John Kerry has also been a strong and consistent supporter of Israel and will continue that fight as president," Lieberman said, noting Kerry’s commitment to health care, the environment, education and his position on Supreme Court appointments.

But, unusual and strong praise from Sen. Lieberman, one of the party’s leading moderates, is sure to rock the Kerry campaign as the election moves into the ninth inning.

Jewish-Americans concerned with Israel’s security have good reason to worry about Kerry, who once called Arafat a “statesman” and sharply criticized Israel for building a barrier wall to protect itself from suicide bombers.

In an October 2003 speech to the Arab American Institute in Michigan, Kerry referred to Israel’s controversial security barrier as an impediment to peace:

"I know how disheartened Palestinians are by the decision to build the barrier off the Green Line – cutting deep into Palestinian areas. We don’t need another barrier to peace. Provocative and counterproductive measures only harm Israelis’ security over the long term, increase the hardships to the Palestinian people, and make the process of negotiating an eventual settlement that much harder."

After Israel’s supporters cried foul, Kerry quickly modified his position, saying his real was to the route of the fence.

Nowadays, Kerry carefully describes the barrier as a "legitimate act of self-defense."

Lieberman’s gentle criticism of Kerry is not the first time the pair have butted heads over security and other matters.

Lieberman had vigorously opposed Kerry during the heated Democratic primaries.

Unlike Kerry and Edwards who eventually became critics of President’s Bush invasion of Iraq, Lieberman has been a stalwart supporter of the President’s efforts to liberate Iraq and build democracy there.

While still a candidate in the primary season, Lieberman had plenty in the way of the negative to say against candidate Kerry:

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"We are dealing with a president who's had a record of strong, consistent support for Israel. You can't say otherwise," Lieberman told an audience of 600 near Delray Beach, Fla, the Palm Beach Post reported in editions Thursday. Lieberman also added that any criticism...
Lieberman,Praises,Bush,,Chides,Kerry
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2004-00-14
Thursday, 14 October 2004 12:00 AM
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