Friday, November 03, 2006

Bush's Secret Weapon, Will Joe Lieberman turn Republican, if elected?


POLITICS
Last Call's Early For Joe As Hecklers Crash Party

November 3, 2006 By ELIZABETH HAMILTON, Hartford Courant Staff Writer

Maybe he should have gone to the debate after all.

Instead of joining his two main opponents for the U.S. Senate - Democrat Ned Lamont and Republican Alan Schlesinger - at Quinnipiac University, Joe Lieberman opted for a relaxing night of campaigning, beer in hand, at Mayor Mike's in downtown Hartford.

It was a short stop.

It was also not very relaxing.Lieberman lasted maybe 15 minutes before he was heckled from the restaurant by young Lyndon LaRouche supporters, who kept popping up along the bar like gophers coming out of their holes.

Singing loudly - but in perfect harmony - and throwing handfuls of fake dollar bills into the air over Lieberman's head, the LaRouche crew seemed to stun the older crowd of Lieberman supporters who gathered to hobnob with the sitting senator.

Lieberman entered the bar about 7 p.m., just as the debate between Lamont and Schlesinger started playing on one of the large television screens. As he walked in, with a close-up of Lamont's head looming over the room, a LaRouche supporter, disguised in a wig and make-up as conservative columnist William F. Buckley, began yelling and throwing green "Buckley Bucks."

Soon, the singing began.

"If you want a third world war, vote for Joe, Bill Buckley's whore," the LaRouche supporters sang.

Then came a bit about impeaching Vice President Dick Cheney and about Lieberman, or Cheney - it was hard to decipher which - being something unprintable.

The LaRouche youth, as they called themselves, came to Connecticut from around the country specifically to heckle Lieberman because, they said, Buckley supported Lieberman when he unseated Republican U.S. Sen. Lowell Weicker in 1988. LaRouche, an American political activist since the late 1940s, is perhaps best known for being a perennial presidential candidate.

LaRouche supporters consider Buckley a fascist, said Jon Stuart, 22, of California, and think Lieberman is a "bought and paid for stooge" of the Bush administration.

But they're not supporting Lamont in the race against Lieberman, Stuart said.

"We don't do that," Stuart said.

"We're a political action committee and our campaign is to go after Lieberman."

Which they did.At first, Lieberman supporters tried to drown out the LaRouche supporters by chanting "Go Joe go!" but they were no match for the well-rehearsed young men and women who had spread themselves around the bar.

Lieberman, who ditched his beer about the same time someone changed the channel from the Senate debate to the West Virginia-Louisville football game, beat a quick path to the door just as the kid in the Dick Cheney mask appeared.

As he made his way out of the room, Lieberman's staff tried to block the LaRouche supporters from following him, forming a human shield at the far end of the bar. A considerable amount of shoving and muttered threats then followed.

As the kids filed out of the restaurant, still throwing their green fliers, former Mayor Mike Peters shouted from his perch at the end the bar, "You've got to clean up when you're done."

He looked amused.

Lieberman, however, did not.

Contact Elizabeth Hamilton at ehamilton@courant.com.

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