The Windsor Democratic Town Committee grilled U.S. Senate challenger Ned Lamont during an informal interview Thursday night on civil liberties, immigration policy, and healthcare issues. But the committee will have to wait a few days to question Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the incumbent Democrat, on similar issues.Ken Dagliere, Lieberman’s political director, attended Thursday’s event, following Lamont and providing some answers to the committee’s inquiries. But he deferred other questions to Lieberman himself, who is scheduled to be in Windsor on Sunday at 11:30 a.m., also at Town Hall. Dagliere told the committee that Lieberman, who was in Washington on Thursday, knows “you’re not always going to agree with him.” That’s particularly true in Windsor, where in February the town committee voted in favor of a resolution reprimanding Lieberman for his continued support of President George W. Bush’s Iraq war policy.
Lamont said the Windsor Democratic Town Committee’s resolution, coupled with a similar resolution from the Manchester Democratic Town Committee, energized him in his campaign against Lieberman. Lamont said that what he’s hearing around the state is anger against the “ill-conceived war in Iraq,” but that he also wanted to talk about other things in order to define himself as a candidate on other issues, like healthcare and jobs.Dagliere also addressed the committee’s concern about Iraq. “The war is a big issue. The committee passed a resolution and the senator respects that,” Dagliere said. But “I’m here to remind you that we agree on a lot of things,” he added.Dagliere said he knows there’s a perception that Lieberman is “like a Republican.” But he said that Lieberman has “an outstanding progressive record despite that perception.” After all, Dagliere said, Connecticut overwhelmingly supported Lieberman in 2000 as Al Gore’s running mate against Bush and Dick Cheney.The campaign literature Dagliere distributed included several interest groups’ ratings of Lieberman on their issues. The pamphlet said the AFL-CIO gave Lieberman an 84 percent rating; NARAL Pro-Choice America gave him 95 percent; and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights gave him 85 percent. The Alliance for Retired Americans gave Lieberman a 100 percent rating, according to the literature.But 17-year-old Ian Crone looked at the glossy pamphlet and said this is great, “but where’s the section on foreign policy?” Dagliere said he had only brought the single pamphlet, and that he would send Crone, who said he’ll be 18 in November, information on Lieberman’s foreign policy. Lamont said the U.S. is spending $300 million a day on the war in Iraq, which, since the start of the war, would have been enough money to fund initiatives like universal healthcare, the social security deficit, or enough money for education to “give students something to dream about.” Dagliere said supporting Lieberman means maintaining a Democratic seat in the U.S. Senate, but Lamont countered by saying the state is 49 out of 50 in its return on investment with respect to federal tax dollars leaving Connecticut versus federal revenue received.“When we win the primary on Aug. 8th they’ll know they have a real Democrat,” in Washington, Lamont said. The committee will not decide on an endorsement until it hears from Lieberman, according to Leo Canty, DTC chairman. Windsor will send 17 delegates to the state convention May 20. To find out more about the candidatesclick here and here.