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Joe noodges, Bush winks, Sarah smiles

Joe Lieberman wentandunnit and urged his erstwhile party-mates to vote Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) president.

The Connecticut senator, addressing the Republican convention in St. Paul on Tuesday, also brought about the first Clinton applause line at a Republican convention, albeit at the expense of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the Democratic nominee:

“Let me contrast Barack Obama’s record to the record of the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, who stood up to some of those same Democratic interest groups, worked with Republicans, and got some important things done like welfare reform, free trade agreements and a balanced budget.”

Which is not to say he did not have kind words for Obama – these, however, did not earn the cheers the Clinton mention did:

“Senator Barack Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man who I think can do great things for our country in the years ahead.”

Meantime, President Bush delivered his remarks from the White House, ostensibly because he had to manage the hurricane-crisis-that wasn’t (but perhaps he was wary of the sort of GOP confab that would applaud Bill Clinton?).

In any case, Bush delivered one of his famous coded messages (remember the bizarre reference to Dred Scott in the 2004 debates? This one was about abortion, too). Ostensibly talking about the McCains’ adopted daughter, he launched into a paean to McCain’s respect for human life:

“John is a leader who knows that human life is fragile, that human life is precious, that human life must be defended.”

Translation: Forget what you once believed about McCain and a woman’s right to choose.

Finally, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain’s VP pick, reassured AIPAC types about her Israel bona fides.

We hear there’s going to be red meat for the pro-Israel crowd in her speech Wednesday night.

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