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The BBC's Paul Reynolds
"Mr Gore seemed to have a new confidence in his voice"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 8 August, 2000, 19:54 GMT 20:54 UK
Public debut for Democrat hopefuls
Senator Joseph Lieberman
Opinion polls have backed the choice of Lieberman
US Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore has staged his first rally with his running mate, Senator Joseph Lieberman, to anoint him formally as his choice for the role.

The two men appeared at a rally in Nashville, Tennessee - where they focused on the significance of Senator Lieberman's Jewish faith as well as on policy issues.


Dear Lord, maker of all miracles, I thank you for bringing me to this extraordinary moment in my life

Senator Lieberman starting his acceptance address
Mr Gore told the rally his choice of the first Jewish running mate on a major ticket would "tear down a mighty wall of division."

He compared the moment with the choice of John Kennedy as the first Roman Catholic US president.

"Joe and I come from different regions and different religious faith. But we believe in a common set of ideals," he told the rally.

Senator Lieberman said he felt honoured to be selected.

"I cannot express with words the gratitude I feel today as the first Jewish American to be a major party candidate for vice-president," he told the rally.


That's like saying the veterinarian and the taxidermist are in the same business because either way you get your dog back

Senator Lieberman on claims he is similar to George W Bush
"So let us be very clear. It isn't me who deserves congratulations for taking a bold step. It is Al Gore who broke this barrier."

The senator had begun his address with a prayer: "Dear Lord, maker of all miracles, I thank you for bringing me to this extraordinary moment in my life."

He added that some might even call his selection an act of "chutzpa" - the Yiddish word for "audacity".

Senator Lieberman also poured scorn on Republican suggestions that he held similar positions on many issues to their presidential candidate, George W Bush.

Well-received

"With all due respect, I think that's like saying the veterinarian and the taxidermist are in the same business because either way you get your dog back," he said.

The BBC's Washington correspondent, Paul Reynolds, says Senator Lieberman's selection has been well-received, with opinion polls showing that the public does not think his Jewish background is or should be an issue.

The two men's wives also addressed the rally.

Hadassah Lieberman spoke of how her parents had survived Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

Most opinion polls show the Democrats are still trailing the Republicans in the race for the White House, but correspondents say Mr Gores' campaign has been boosted by bringing Senator Lieberman on board.

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See also:

08 Aug 00 | Americas
Gore deputy backs social policies
07 Aug 00 | Americas
Joe Lieberman: Moral crusader
07 Aug 00 | Americas
Lieberman: The Jewish factor
24 Jun 00 | Americas
Gore declares: 'Truth is my friend'
14 Jan 00 | Vote USA 2000
Q&A: Big bucks politics
05 Aug 00 | Americas
What makes a great president?
04 Aug 00 | Americas
Bush eyes White House
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