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V.P. candidate Lieberman’s swan song

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 (JTA) – If there is such a thing as a vice-presidential candidate’s swan song, Sen. Joseph Lieberman sang his on the Senate floor, adding a biblical reference.

On Thursday, Lieberman called the end to the vote recounts in Florida, which effectively handed the presidency to Texas Gov. George W. Bush, “disappointing.” Yet he kept an upbeat tone, expressing his gratitude for the opportunity to run in what turned out to be a most unusual campaign and election.

Sounding like a legislator, a position he will retain for another six years as the junior senator from Connecticut, Lieberman said the voting problems in this year’s election indicate that the voting rights of many poor and minority citizens may have been undermined. To remedy this situation, he suggested bipartisan investigation and reform.

Lieberman paid tribute to Vice President Al Gore for selecting a Jewish American running mate, something no previous presidential candidate had done.

In his concession speech Wednesday night, Gore said Lieberman brought “passion and high purpose to our partnership, and opened new doors, not just for our campaign, but for our country.”

During the campaign, attention occasionally focused not only on Lieberman’s religion, but his references to God and faith and his openness about the way his religious upbringing and religious education affected policy decisions.

In his speech, Lieberman played down any fallout from his emphasis on faith and religion.

“The fact is that while my faith was the focus of much of the early media reaction to my candidacy, it was not even mentioned at the end of the campaign, and that is the way we had all hoped it would be,” he said.

Lieberman noted the absence of bigotry in the campaign and the success of the Gore-Lieberman ticket in winning the popular vote count. Sill sounding like a candidate, he said, “Anything is possible for anyone in America.”

Lieberman concluded by quoting the 30th Psalm, which talks about sorrow during the night but happiness the next day. He hinted that future political successes – whether for him and Gore, or for the Democratic Party – were on the horizon.

“So today, as some of us weep for what could have been, we look to the future with faith that on another morning, joy will surely come,” he said.

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