Lieberman lifts Gore's standing in polls
By Laurence McQuillan, USA TODAY
NASHVILLE -- Vice President Gore on Monday chose Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, a political centrist sometimes called "the conscience of the Senate," to be his running mate on the Democratic ticket.
"The vice president asked me if I would do him the honor of running with him, and I said, 'Believe me, it's my honor,' " said Lieberman, the first Orthodox Jew chosen to be on a major party's national ticket.
A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll Monday night after Lieberman's selection shows that Texas Gov. George Bush's lead has almost disappeared among registered voters.
Bush's lead was reduced to 2 points, 45%-43%, in the poll that included Lieberman on the Democratic ticket. That's down from 19 points among registered voters in a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll Friday and Saturday.
Gallup Poll senior editor David Moore says polls of registered voters are not as accurate as those of likely voters. Among that group, Bush led by 17 points in the Friday-Saturday poll.
Moore also notes that one-day polls are subject to errors not found in polls taken over more than a day. But "clearly there has been a narrowing of the race."
The announcement comes less than two weeks after Bush selected former defense secretary Dick Cheney as his running mate and just days after the end of the Republican convention.
Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer praised Lieberman "for his intelligence, his integrity, and for many of the positions he has taken" that he said conflict with Gore's views. Those issues include school vouchers and the privatization of Social Security.
Lieberman is perhaps best known for rising on the Senate floor in 1998 to denounce President Clinton's conduct with Monica Lewinsky as "not just inappropriate; it is immoral." The rebuke was particularly pointed for Clinton, who has known Lieberman for 30 years. But Clinton on Monday called him "one of the most outstanding figures in public life."
Lieberman also has criticized the entertainment industry for failing to reflect higher ethical and moral standards in movies and TV programs.
The two-term Democratic senator, who is up for re-election this year, has served the past five years as chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, a group that has aimed to move the party to the middle of the political spectrum.
The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.