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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Weicker rumors gaining steam

Wow. Seems like the Weicker buzz is gaining alot of coverage on the blogs and now The New York Times is getting into the mix.
Former Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. on Monday criticized Senator Joseph I. Lieberman's continued support of the war in Iraq and said that if no candidate challenged the senator on the issue in the 2006 election, he would consider running.

"When you've become the president's best friend on the war in Iraq, you should not be in office, especially if you're in the opposing party," Mr. Weicker, 74, said in a phone interview from his home in Essex, Conn. "I'm going to do everything I can to see that Joe Lieberman does not get a free pass."

He said that Mr. Lieberman, a Democrat, currently had no challengers, either from within his party or from Republicans, in his campaign for a fourth term. Mr. Weicker said he believed that no Republican would challenge Mr. Lieberman on the war.

"If he's out there scot-free and nobody will do it, I'd have to give serious thought to doing it myself, and I don't want to do it," added Mr. Weicker, an independent, who said he had been opposed to the war from the beginning.

In 1988, Mr. Lieberman, a Democrat who was then Connecticut's attorney general, narrowly defeated Mr. Weicker, then a Republican United States senator, in Mr. Weicker's bid for re-election. Two years later, Mr. Weicker ran for governor as an independent and won. He served one term before retiring in 1995, but his stature as a maverick political voice in the state has endured. In 1999, Reform Party supporters encouraged Mr. Weicker to run for president in 2000, but after flirting with the idea, he ultimately declined.

Mr. Lieberman, 63, is popular in public opinion polls, but Mr. Weicker said on Monday that "a large bloc within the Democratic Party" in Connecticut opposes his position on the war and wants to see him challenged from within the party.

President Bush, facing sharp criticism from some Democrats who say that the United States should soon begin withdrawing troops from Iraq, has publicly complimented Mr. Lieberman in recent weeks for supporting keeping troops in Iraq.

Mr. Weicker, who discussed his willingness to run against Mr. Lieberman in response to questions from reporters after he spoke to the Hartford Rotary Club on Monday, emphasized in an interview later that he was not making plans to run. If he did run, however, he said he would run as an independent and oppose Mr. Lieberman solely on the war.

"Out!" he said, summarizing his position on what the United States strategy should be in Iraq. "We'd get out of Iraq. I'm not going to tell you it should be on Feb. 16 or something, but six months to a year, we're out. Otherwise you get all these mealy statements."

Mr. Weicker, noting that he had lost to Mr. Lieberman once, said his prospects in a rematch were "probably pretty poor."

"I'm not somebody who wants to put his track record on the line for some quixotic pursuit," he said, "but how do you bring the issue of the war to the country otherwise?"
Believe me, if Weicker runs against Lieberman, it would be the hottest campaign of all the mid-term elections. Democrats are outraged over Lieberman and Weicker is a very popular moderate who has the respect of Republicans and Democrats in Connecticut.

Boy, if Weicker gets in to the race, between that contest, the races for the 2nd, 4th, and 5th district, and the governor's race, all I can say is that it's great to be a political junkie in Connecticut.