As you approached the University of Connecticut Friday, “Vote Joe” lawn signs lined Route 195. Whether the signs were put in place by U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman’s supporters prior to Friday’s event or in anticipation of the event is uncertain. What is certain is that the U.S. Senate campaign may end up being a referendum on the war in Iraq and as both candidates crisscross the state they’ve struggled to articulate their positions. Democratic challenger, Ned Lamont, appeared with retired four-star General Wesley Clark Friday while the incumbent Lieberman visited students at Southern Connecticut State University where he denied being a torture apologist and echoed several Republican talking points on the detainee bill.
At UConn, Clark explained why the United States “can’t win militarily” in the Iraq war. He said he knows the Bush administration likes to focus on the military, but the strategy for success is in talking to the countries that border Iraq and Afghanistan. “I know it’s not a sound bite,” but the only people who can “solve this politically is the Iraqis themselves.”“The most important way we can change the course is to change the leadership in Congress,” Clark said. “We need a Congress that will stand up to the executive branch.”“How can you stay the course when you’re in a ditch?” Clark said. “Joe Lieberman has been part of that ditch. Truth is he didn’t control the steering wheel, but its like he was supporting the elbow of the driver that did.“A few weeks ago when Lieberman gave his big public policy speech on the war he called for the United States to invest in a bigger military force to achieve victory in Iraq. In his 10 point plan for victory in Iraq, Lieberman said “We must begin now to increase the size of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps and to make sure we are building the numbers and types of units we need to fight and win the kinds of conflicts that we are likely to be confronted with during this century.” In stark contrast to Lieberman’s approach Clark said Friday, “We must fight smart, not stubbornly.” Lamont “will be the key in changing the course in this country,” Clark said. “We want to change American now before it’s too late,” he said to a round of applause from the crowd. Later Lieberman’s campaign tried to diminish Clark’s appearance on the campaign’s ‘Full Lamonty Blog’. Lieberman’s blogger writes, “It’s kind of sad to see a distinguished four-star general reduced to carrying water for negative Ned and his na•ve and deadly national security policies.“See the Lamont campaign blog on the UConn rally.