Senator Joe Lieberman continues to criticize the message of the Gore-Lieberman 2000 presidential campaign as he continues to pledge that he won’t run in 2004 if Gore runs. While not mentioning Lieberman by name, Gore responded yesterday in an op-ed in The New York Times. It’s an interesting piece: part harangue at Bush, part defense of his 2000 message, part policy-specific stump speech. So far, the press is covering this as bickering between the former running mates. This situation, however, might be more interesting. There has been credible speculation that Lieberman may break his promise not to run. While continuing his critique, Lieberman backed off a little, saying on FOX News Sunday that Gore was:
“taking a poke at a point of view that a lot of people hold and, I think, pretty effectively making his case…I guess I would have added a word or two and said that we believe in a government that will stand up and fight for the people, for the public interest against powerful, private interests, including business, if they treat the public unfairly.”
Hmmmmm…what is Lieberman thinking? This “word or two” Lieberman speaks of is exactly the message of the Gore op-ed. Is he continuing to criticize Gore in order to position himself, or Gore, or the party toward the political center for 2004? Is he backing off because he realizes how silly it is to criticize the message of his own former campaign? Is he planning to break his promise not to run?