George Stephanopoulos: Can Karl help Joe?

By Germanm

Aug 9, 2006 11:21am

According to a close Lieberman adviser, the President’s political guru, Karl Rove, has reached out to the Lieberman camp with a message straight from the Oval Office: "The boss wants to help. Whatever we can do, we will do." UPDATED @ 3:35p ET: Dan Gerstein called from the Lieberman campaign to say the above account from another Lieberman adviser is not accurate. While confirming that Rove called Lieberman, he added: "Rove made a personal call, no help was offered, and we are not interested regardless." A senior White House official also says that the account is "not accurate." But in a year where even some Republican candidates are running away from the President on the campaign trail, would this offer have any value to Lieberman? Still smarting from all that coverage of "the kiss" at last year’s State of the Union, the Lieberman camp isn’t looking for an explicit endorsement. That could create more problems than it solves. The White House might help Lieberman by putting the kibosh on any move to replace the weak Republican candidate, Alan Schlesinger, with a stronger candidate. And it might be able to convince Schlesinger to drop out of the race and endorse Lieberman in the final week or two, when it’s too late for another candidate to fill the GOP slot. A quiet White House effort to steer some money in Lieberman’s direction is another possibility. This is a tricky dance for Lieberman. He needs to figure out a way to get the benefits of Bush support — some votes from loyal Republicans — without turning off the independents and moderate Democrats he needs to win. The safest course may be a polite "thanks but no thanks" to the White House offer.

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