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Thursday, 17 August, 2000, 02:13 GMT 03:13 UK
Lieberman takes centre stage
Lieberman
Man of the hour: Lieberman to make first major speech
Joseph Lieberman has taken the stage at the Democratic Party convention as the first Jewish vice-presidential candidate in US history.


My first and only loyalty is to the United States of America

Joseph Lieberman
In his speech accepting the party's nomination, the Connecticut senator is planning to introduce himself to the American people and warn voters of the consequences of a Republican victory in the presidential elections.

Mr Lieberman's much anticipated speech will set the scene for Al Gore's formal nomination as the party's candidate to contest the US presidency in November.

Mr Gore has arrived in Los Angeles, telling hundreds of cheering supporters that he would use his speech to outline the hard choices necessary to ensure America's future.

Beyond the walls of the Los Angeles convention centre, the police presence is expected to be high ahead of a third day of protests, including one rally targeting the LA police themselves.

Lieberman's story

When Mr Lieberman takes to the podium on Wednesday night, he is hoping to "introduce the American people in a little more detail to my story, who I am what my values are, what my experience is, what matters to me".

Lieberman and Gore
Running mates: Lieberman is hoping to play up the personal side of Gore
He told the Associated Press that he also hoped his speech would show voters a more personal side of Mr Gore - a theme which will also be taken up in a speech by the presidential candidate's eldest daughter, Karenna Gore Schiff.

Mr Lieberman's other aim will be to draw some distinctions between the Democrat candidates and their Republican rivals, George W Bush and Dick Cheney.

"The Republicans have changed their rhetoric but they haven't changed their policies and that means they, if they're elected, would really change America from the positive course it's on."

The 58-year-old Orthodox Jew also stressed that his faith would not affect his handling of Middle East issues because his record showed that he had supported the US position when it diverged from that of Israel.

"My first and only loyalty is to the United States of America," he said.

Clinton and Gore
Over to you: Clinton passes the party torch to Gore
Speakers at the convention on Tuesday, including Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the assassinated president. helped prepare the ground for Mr Lieberman's debut.

She told delegates: "I take great pride in knowing that one of those he [John F Kennedy] inspired to enter public life is the next vice-president of the United States - Joe Lieberman."

Mr Gore is not expected at the convention to hear his running mate.

His arrival marks the end of an eight-day trip that began in Tennessee and took him to Michigan on Tuesday where he met President Bill Clinton for a symbolic handover of the party leadership.

The convention reaches its climax on Thursday when Mr Gore steps up to formally accept the party nomination as presidential candidate.

Protests

Outside the convention centre on Tuesday, a series of mainly peaceful demonstrations took place for a second day running.

Protester
Animal rights activists were arrested during Tuesday's protests
However there were some arrests - 45 people were arrested at an animal rights protest, in which anti-fur activists banged on the windows of several shops.

A further 50 people were taken into custody a few hours later when protesters demanding more cycle lanes tied up evening traffic for more than an hour.

A total of 151 protesters have been arrested in various incidents since the convention began on Monday.

Police are keeping a high profile in Los Angeles in anticipation of a third day of protests.

Among the protests scheduled for Wednesday is a demonstration against police from the controversial Rampart station, who have been accused of beating, robbing and shooting civilians and lying in court to convict them.

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See also:

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16 Aug 00 | Americas
Clinton passes torch to Gore
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