Yesterday, Democratic Presidential candidate Al Gore announced his selection of Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman as his running mate. The choice is widely seen as an attempt to separate Gore from the President's ethical controversies and to appeal to independent and Republican voters. Lieberman, the first orthodox Jew to be named to a major party's presidential ticket, was also the first Democrat to publicly criticize Clinton for his conduct in the Lewinsky affair and is known for his traditional stands on moral issues. Politically, Lieberman tends to be a centrist, even taking some typically Republican positions, such as his support of school vouchers and the privatization of Social Security. However, Republicans have already sought to paint him as a tax-loving liberal with deep ties to big business interests in health insurance and pharmaceuticals. While the choice clearly represents Gore's desire to position himself away from Clinton and in the center, some Democrats have worried that the moderate Lieberman will do little to appeal to the base of the Democratic party, namely labor, minorities, the left, and women. Unlike Bush, Gore has not yet solidified his support among these traditional Democratic constituencies. Some have also wondered aloud if Lieberman's religious affiliation will have an impact on the political race.
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