But most of the pundits and editorial writers praised Cheney and me for the open, respectful exchange of ideas and opinions. "What viewers did see was both the seriousness and the dry wit that define both men, " said The New York Times. We proved that political debates don't have to be all attacks or all sound bites; we treated the voters with respect by respecting the importance of the issues. I'm tremendously proud of the debate. I felt, and will always feel, that we made a real and lasting contribution that night.
The next day, on a campaign plane, reporters asked Cheney about what a Washington Post reporter called "an increasingly direct assault on Gore's truthfulness by some of Cheney's surrogates, including his wife." Cheney snarled back, ripping into Al's "credibility problem" and going one step further. The U.S. military, Cheney charged, "is clearly worse off today than it was eight years ago." (It was an assertion that I recalled proudly a year later when that same military won a stunning victory against terrorism in Afghanistan.)
And me? After a postdebate "victory" lap around the increasingly critical state of Florida, and a wonderful family Sabbath in Washington, our campaign announced on Sunday that I would soon be leaving for a "Failed Leadership Tour" of Texas. My mission: To call attention to the serious wrongs George W. Bush had done to Texas as governor.
In other words, that one brief, shining moment known as "Danville" was over. The last month of the campaign had begun, and Dick Cheney and I were back on the vice presidential attack trail.
— From An Amazing Adventure, by Joseph I. Lieberman and Hadassah Lieberman, Copyright 2003, Simon & Schuster used by permission.