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Lieberman will still fight H’w’d in campaign

VP candidate pushes 'a better future for families'

In his first public appearance with presumptive presidential nominee Al Gore, newly named vice presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Lieberman got in a dig Tuesday at Hollywood, indicating that he has no intention of ending his crusade against the entertainment industry.

Lieberman, a culture warrior considered one of the moral voices of the Senate, promised supporters that the Democratic Gore/Lieberman ticket would help parents “raise PG kids in an X-rated society.” He praised Vice President Gore’s wife, Tipper, for having had the courage to speak out against certain music lyrics, a move for which she was widely blasted in the 1980s.

Lieberman’s comments came during a steamy campaign rally in Nashville to officially welcome him into the campaign fold. Gore gave a brief introduction, then turned the mike over to the 58-year-old Lieberman. The day’s catchphrase: a better future for families.

Matching the showy agenda of the Republicans’ convention last week in Philadelphia, Gore’s team enlisted pop star Jewel to sing at Tuesday’s joint announcement. When his turn came, Lieberman quickly steered the topic to God. “Dear Lord, maker of all miracles, I thank you for bringing me to this extraordinary moment in my life,” he said.

Word of the VP pick broke Monday, with many political leaders praising Gore for selecting an Orthodox Jew as a running mate. Lieberman was also widely praised for integrity and consistency.

The senator, who’s considered a centrist, has broken with his own party to side with the GOP in critical votes, such as during the Persian Gulf crisis. He was also the first Democrat to denounce Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Republican presidential contender George W. Bush’s campaign issued a statement commending Lieberman’s entry into the race, saying the senator and Bush share the same views on several key issues. Lieberman humorously begged to differ with that during his speech. Gore’s campaign Web site posted an endorsement list for Lieberman Monday, and the first two supporters were Republicans — New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Scott Reed, campaign manager for Bob Dole’s 1996 GOP presidential bid.Lieberman has allied with such conservative heavyweights as William Bennett, who served in both the Reagan and Bush administrations.

Last year, Lieberman lauded a study by the conservative Parents Television Council painting television as sleazy, suggesting that the FCC take into account the moral tone of programming when renewing TV station licenses.

Lieberman sits on the celebrity advisory board of the Parents Television Council.

Gore will continue to rely on Hollywood for campaign contributions.

In regards to individual contributions, He had received $880,000 in campaign contributions from the entertainment community by early July, compared with the $680,000 raised by Bush. These figures do not include money contributed directly to the two parties, which have both received sizable chunks from media companies.

Lieberman’s fund-raising potential at the national level remains to be seen.

In his Senate re-election bid — which he now shelves — Lieberman has raised about $3.5 million, with a large chunk coming from business and finance sectors. Among top contributors are Microsoft ($11,500) and Verizon Communications ($11,000).

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