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From vgosse@peace-action.org Fri Aug 18 11:01:27 2000
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2000 23:00:18 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Van Gosse" <vgosse@peace-action.org>
Subject: Peace activists on Lieberman's Defense/Foreign Policy Record
Organization: ?
Article: 102938
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
X-UIDL: f*C!!ZL1"!$;W!!gFV"!

Lieberman criticized for support of military spending

By Diane Scarponi, Associated Press
9 August 2000

NEW HAVEN, Conn.-- Peace activists critical of Sen. Joseph Lieberman's support of the defense industry - a major Connecticut employer since the Civil War - say his hawkish record may drive left-leaning Democrats to Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.

Groups that track defense-related voting records and campaign donations give Lieberman poor to middling marks.

"There is no other Democrat within shooting range of Joe Lieberman with the weapons lobby," said Van Gosse, organizing director of Peace Action. "Lieberman is the weapons lobby's best friend in the Senate."

The group gave Lieberman 38 out of 100 for his votes last year. Lieberman, a supporter of a national missile defense program, voted against Peace Action when it came to military spending but got points for supporting nuclear test-ban treaty bills.

The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign donations, reports Lieberman has received $100,700 for the 2000 election from defense industry employees and political action committees.

Second on his donor list with $33,500 in contributions are the PACs and employees of Hartford-based United Technologies Corp. UTC divisions make Black Hawk helicopters and Pratt & Whitney jet engines for military aircraft.

Also a top donor: General Dynamics, builder of the Seawolf and other submarines with a shipyard at Groton, Conn.

Another peace group, Council for a Livable World, has had a change of heart about Lieberman since he was elected in 1988.

After scoring 100 percent with the group early, his score fell as low as 15 percent in 1993, when he supported the Seawolf, loan guarantees for exporting weapons, President Bush's Star Wars defense program and the military budget.

Last year, the group gave him a 57 percent score.

Lieberman was a hawk during the Gulf War in 1991 and called for "final victory" over Saddam Hussein.

Connecticut is home to many small arms manufacturers, including Colt Inc., which made firearms for the Union army during the Civil War. The state has always been affected by the defense industry, especially during the recession of the early 1990s, said Scott McLean, a Quinnipiac University professor of political science.

Dan Gerstein, a spokesman for Lieberman, said the senator's record reflects the wishes of his constituents and his desire for a strong national defense.

"He's proud of the work he's done to preserve the high-paying, quality jobs at several leading employers in this state. He's not ashamed of that one bit," Gerstein said. "These jobs are vital to Connecticut's economy and critically important to national security."

Lieberman's voting record on key defense issues is nearly identical to that of his colleague, Sen. Chris Dodd.

McLean said: "Just because a politician in this state supports the defense industry does not mean they're hawkish - it's just good old-fashioned politics."

Al Marder of New Haven, the president of the U.S. Peace Council, said talk of Lieberman's high moral standards does not wash with his defense record.

"Doesn't morality also include preventing the deaths of a million Iraqi children from embargo and sanctions?" Marder asked.

For liberal Democrats who wanted Gore's vice presidential pick to lean to the left, Lieberman disappoints.

Some peace activists said they will urge the Gore-Lieberman ticket to repudiate support for missile defense systems and other big military projects.

Others may go to Nader, a consumer activist and critic of the major political parties who gets about 5 percent of the support in national polls. That could take votes away from Gore and help Texas Gov. George W. Bush in a close election.

"Lieberman does not assuage the liberal part of the party," said John Isaacs, president of Council for a Livable World.

Gerstein said Gore and Lieberman "are right where the heart of the American people are."

"You don't have to sacrifice national security to also invest in education, the environment, health care," Gerstein said.

Daryl Kimball, Executive Director
Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers
110 Maryland Avenue NE, Suite 505
Washington, DC 20002
(ph) 202-546-0795 x136 (fax) 202-546-7970
website <http://www.crnd.org>

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