The New York Times - September 17, 1988Yes, we know exactly how you feel. Hmmm...Joe mentions 18 years; you can almost cut the irony with a knife.
Lieberman and Weicker Start Series of Debates
By NICK RAVO, Special to the New York Times
Attorney General Joseph I. Lieberman, running a clear second in his campaign for the United States Senate, took the offensive today in his first debate with Senator Lowell P. Weicker Jr., characterizing the three-term incumbent as a political misfit masquerading as a maverick.
Mr. Lieberman, who dismissed the assaults on his voting record as misrepresentations, attacked the Senator's record and criticized the liberal Republican's reputation as a political maverick.
''For 18 years, my opponent has gotten away with saying he's a maverick,'' the Attorney General said. ''Well, it's about time the people really understood what a maverick is. It means you're not ultimately accountable to anybody.
''You don't even have to make commitments, even to the voters you represent. You just do whatever suits you personally whenever you want to do it. I look at his record and see a pattern of incredible inconsistency.''I can see how not making commitments to the voters, or doing whatever suits you personally can lead to a pattern of inconsistency. Believe me Senator, we're all very aware of that now.
He added that Mr. Weicker had voted against interests he professed to support, particularly on environmental issues.Wow, times have changed, haven't they? 18 years ago Joe supported publicly-funded access to abortion. Today, Joe is agreeable to publicly-funded Catholic hospitals denying victims of sexual assault access to Plan B emergency contraception.
Mr. Lieberman, of New Haven, who is known as a liberal Democrat and consumer advocate, also attacked Mr. Weicker, who lives in Greenwich, for misrepresenting the support Mr. Lieberman has received from William F. Buckley Jr., the conservative columnist, and his family. ''Bill Buckley endorsed me not because he loves me,'' Mr. Lieberman said, ''but because he and tens and thousands of other Connecticut Republicans can't stand Lowell Weicker's grandstanding.''
Exploring the Differences
The issues included the Pledge of Allegiance and abortions paid by Medicaid. Both candidates said they supported the Pledge, but did not think anyone should be forced to lead it. They also supported the right of poor women to abortions financed by Medicaid.
The sole wide difference was on school prayer. Mr. Weicker said he was opposed to time being set aside for prayer. Mr. Lieberman said he supported a moment of silent meditation, but not a moment of organized prayer.Indeed.
Mr. Lieberman, who said he had long expected to lose the labor endorsement, pressed on. ''It's time for a change,'' he said. ''It's time for somebody fresh.''