The Note: Pal Joey

ByABC News
August 9, 2006, 9:51 AM

— -- WASHINGTON, August 9

If you want to understand the Lieberman story going forward, you have to play four-dimensional chess.

First Dimension: It is an article of faith among most elite Democrats that Joe Lieberman will get out of the race once he sees today's Democratic unity event in Hartford; once he understands how hard it will be to raise money; and once he starts getting insistent phone calls from his colleagues. Watch Chris Dodd, Chuck Schumer, Howard Dean, Harry Reid, Tom Carper, and Bill Clinton. (Don't expect to hear from Al Gore anytime soon.) But anyone who watched Lieberman's morning show appearances can sense that the man is not going to quit (at least not easily, and not yet).

Second Dimension: It is an article of faith among most elite Democrats and among bloggers that Bush/Cheney/Rove/Mehlman can't win a third straight election painting the Democrats as the Jane Fonda Party (weak on defense, angry, vaguely anti-American) because Iraq has caused a tipping point with the American people. This is NOT an article of faith among Bush/Cheney/Rove/Mehlman, who know how to use the media's obsession with the Lieberman story to define the terms of the midterms. If you find odds you like, bet against the capacity of B/C/R/M to get this done, but The Note does not recommend you take that as an even bet.

Third Dimension: It is an article of faith among Democratic operatives who dropped in at the end to help Lieberman and among national political reporters who covered the race that the Lieberman effort was pathetically disorganized. In mechanics, scheduling, and message control, the primary campaign was a mess. Can Lieberman put the right people in place to run a strong general election campaign? If so, it is an article of faith at The Note that he CAN win this race; not necessarily WILL, but CAN. Also, watch behind the scenes for the war for the soul of Joe Lieberman (with his wife, children, and twin of a different mother -- Al From -- on one side, and most everyone else on the other). James Carville endorsed Lamont this morning; what about Carter Eskew?

Fourth Dimension: It is an article of faith among the press that this race is about Iraq. And it certainly is a lot about Iraq. But Lieberman is not all wrong when he also says it is about whether his party will tolerate bipartisanship as an affirmative good -- even with George Bush as president. For most Democrats (and certainly for the ones who nominated Ned Lamont), they are done with cooperating and, as one told The Note this morning, they are only for "bipartisanship when it is 'bi,'" and they don't think B/C/R/M have ever or will ever do their part to make it "bi." The fight to define what this race is ABOUT -- in Connecticut and nationally -- is just beginning.

The political universe will be dominated by reaction to Sen. Lieberman's primary defeat and his decision to pursue an independent candidacy between now and November.

Ned Lamont is expected to be joined by former Lieberman supporters Sen. Chris Dodd, Connecticut Democratic Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo, and others at a unity rally on the steps of the capitol in Hartford, CT at 11:00 am ET.

Sen. Lieberman has no planned public events at this writing, but does plan to give a series of one-on-one interviews throughout the day. Per ABC News' Audrey Taylor and Jake Tapper, the Lieberman campaign has filed the official paperwork and signatures with the Secretary of State's office to run as an independent in November.

DCCC Chairman Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) hosts a conference call with reporters to discuss the results at 9:45 am ET. A response from Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and DSCC Chairman Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is also expected to come this morning after they had ample time to put their fingers in the wind last night. (We're told you can expect that Schumer statement at approximately 10:00 am-ish ET.) DNC Chairman Howard Dean travels to Wyoming today for a party fundraiser and is also expected to release a statement this morning on last night's results.

President Bush continues his abbreviated summer vacation at his Crawford Ranch with the First Lady. RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman attends a DeWine rally and holds a media availability with the Senator, after giving a speech this morning touting the Party's new themes.

Sen. Hillary Clinton offers tons of opportunities for on-camera reaction to Lieberman as she campaigns throughout NYC today, having stopped first at the Harlem YMCA to meet with the children and staff of the venue's summer camp program at 8:30 am ET. She then rushes to Brooklyn to meet with seniors and local Brooklyn leaders at 10:15 am ET before heading to Queens to do the same at 1:45 pm ET. She wraps up the day at an event to celebrate Congressman Charlie Rangel's 76th birthday in Manhattan at 7:15 pm ET.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) swears in Merita Hopkins as an Associate Justice of the Superior Court at 11:00 am ET in Boston, MA.

Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) holds a bill signing ceremony for ocean and lake protection in Nassau County at 10:30 am ET.

Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) attends a North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party fundraiser to help elect Democrats to the state legislature as part of his "Raising the States" initiative in Bismarck, ND at 6:00 pm ET.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) officially kicks off her re-election campaign as she travels to Marquette, Traverse City, Alpena, and Lansing, MI.

South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Joe Erwin holds a news conference at 10:30 am ET to discuss outsourcing and South Carolina's "staggering unemployment rate" in Columbia, SC.

The Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition, the National Council of Arab Americans (NCA), and the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation (MAS) hold a news conference to announce plans to hold a march and demonstration in Washington, DC to protest the "U.S.-Israeli War against Palestine and Lebanon." The press conference is scheduled to take place at the National Press Club at 9:30 am ET, and the march is scheduled to take place in front of the White House on Friday.

Sen. Lieberman's defeat:
With 99 percent of the precincts reporting:

Ned Lamont: 146,061 (52%)

Joe Lieberman: 136,042 (48% )

Sen. Lieberman's defeat: Democrats rally around Lamont (or not?):
Per ABC News' Jake Tapper, Sen. Hillary Clinton's political action committee, HILLPAC, has already cut a $5,000 check to Ned Lamont.

Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) HOPEFUND plans to send a $5,000 PAC check today to Lamont's campaign. "Lieberman Defiant In Defeat," the Hartford Courant's Pazniokas wrapping up the night and evaluating the prospects of a three-way race in November, Noting Lieberman supporters like Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Democratic congressional candidate Dianne Farrell were now backing the primary winner. LINK

"Lamont Defeats Lieberman in Primary," the New York Times points out that Senate Minority leader Harry Reid and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) are planning to announce this morning that they are supporting Lamont and that Lieberman's will to remain in the race "may soon collide with the will of many Democratic leaders in Washington and Connecticut." LINK

"Lieberman's NH supporters differ on his next move," Union Leader. LINK

"Voters Say it Ain't So, Joe," the New York Post on Lieberman's vow to run as an independent a "major headache" for national Dems.


"Political Gains and Pains," the New York Post lists the winners and losers behind Lieberman loss, Al Gore being a winner and Bill and Hillary Clinton being "losers." LINK

Well before the results were known, the Delaware News Journal reported the following on Sen. Carper's thinking: "If Lieberman loses, Carper said he should follow through on his promise to run as an independent and rejoin the Democratic fold if he wins a three-way race in November." LINK