LIEBERMAN: One of the major problems in Washington is too much partisanship. The best way to fix Washington is to elect people who will stand up & do what's right regardless of the political consequences. Someone who will work across party lines to get things done for the people they serve. That's what I've done for 18 years. Negativity and partisan game-playing couldn't have accomplished anything.
LAMONT: I don't think it's bipartisan to rubber-stamp George Bush's rush to war in Iraq. That's a time we needed checks and balances, and tough questions asked. Every time someone says it's time for a change, Sen. Lieberman suggests they're too partisan, or too negative. We got ourselves into this mess not because we asked too many questions, but because we asked too few.
SCHLESINGER: The Senator likes to bring up partisanship all the time. Partisanship is not the problem in Iraq. Being a crutch to the Maliki government may be the problem.
LIEBERMAN: I have said repeatedly that the Administration has made mistakes in the execution of this war, and I have constantly made suggestions on things to do to help us succeed there-because the costs of failure are enormous. Last month, I offered a 10-point plan for success in Iraq. The top item was a change in the Secretary of Defense - we need new leadership there. Second I offered specific ways for us to better train the Iraqi security forces to take over their own defense so we can bring our troops home. I'm not prepared to give up on Iraq and I'm not prepared to fail. Ned Lamont has embraced a proposal for withdrawal by July 2007. To me, that's not a plan for success, that's retreat and a recipe for disaster, and it will deeply hurt the American people.
LAMONT: Joe Lieberman & George Bush's stay-the-course strategy - that's the recipe for failure.
SCHLESINGER: What we have in Iraq is not a military problem, but political problem.
LIEBERMAN: This is an outrage. People are being cheated. Last December, in the midst of the heating oil season, I submitted legislation that would impose a 50% Excess Profits Tax on oil companies for really undeserved profits and return that money to low- and middle-income consumers to help them pay bills.
SCHLESINGER: With all due respect, Joe, been there, done that. The last time we did, interest rates was to 14%, you couldn't get a mortgage, oil prices skyrocketed, and it just didn't work. Pres. Reagan repealed that Excess Profits Tax, and immediately oil prices fell to a 20-year low, and stayed therefore about 20 years. So that's not the solution.
LAMONT: Front and center to deal with energy prices is that we've got to deal with our dependence on oil, with incentives and conservation to allow that to happen.
LIEBERMAN: In the long run we've got to break our dependence on foreign oil from countries that are unstable or hostile to us. I'm now co-sponsoring a bill called Set America Free, which will reduce our consumption of oil by 10 million barrels a day. It would develop an American biofuels refinery and distribution network.
SCHLESINGER: We have to accept the fact that we're moving from fossil fuel to eventually solar, we're in a probably 30 or 40 year transition process. We have to put incentives into alternative fuel sources. I call it my Declaration of Energy Independence. And we have a two-tiered process for oil company profits: One for fossil fuels, which is a higher tax, and one for alternatives. That way you direct the funds where they're needed and you get results.
LIEBERMAN: There's been no greater failure of leadership in our government over the last 30 years than our failure to do something about our dependence on foreign oil
LAMONT: Dick Cheney invited 100 of his favorite energy CEOs and lobbyists behind closed doors, and they passed the Energy Bill. It provided billions of dollars in subsidies to Exxon-Mobil. Sen. Lieberman was one of the only New England Senators to sign onto that bill. It was a bad bill.
SCHLESINGER: I can't believe this, Ned, I finally agree with you on something. But I would have voted against that bill for entirely different reasons, because it would have developed a 3-mile platform in the middle of Long Island Sound as a fuel depot for natural gas. We can't have it, and that vetoed the bill for me.
LIEBERMAN: The Energy Bill last year was criticized for one part. But it has the most substantial incentives for energy conservation and alternative energy that Congress has ever adopted.
LAMONT: For Sen. Lieberman to sign onto that bill, we lost that opportunity to put in efficiency standards, and to put together a comprehensive energy plan.
LAMONT: In each case, first and foremost, it's time for hard-headed direct negotiations--negotiations backed up by sanctions, and negotiations are always backed up by the threat of force. Negotiation is not a form of appeasement.
SCHLESINGER: North Korea can be dealt with either bilaterally or in 6-way talks. In Iran, Ahmadinejad has 18 nuclear facilities, 6 enriched nuclear warheads, and that's not for energy purposes.
LIEBERMAN: The nuclearization of North Korea & Iran remind us that we live in a dangerous world. With regards to both Iran & North Korea, we need to first use economic and diplomatic sanctions, as we're doing now, through the UN and other organizations. But they must know that in the final analysis, the US and our allies are prepared, though We do not want to use military power, To stop Iran from becoming nuclear, and to stop North Korea from selling any of its nuclear weapons to terrorists.
SCHLESINGER: Haven't we learned anything from history? If you think you can negotiate with Ahmadinejad, no, our security is on the line. The guy's playing cat-and-mouse with us. One day he says he'll go with the incentives, and the next day not.
LIEBERMAN: I'm proud that I co-sponsored that bipartisan resolution calling for regime change in Iran because there are some leaders you can't negotiate with. Look at what Ahmadinejad has said. History reminds us in the case of Hitler and Osama bin Laden that they said exactly what they ultimately did. He wants to wipe out Israel and he has told thousands "Imagine a world without the USA; that is possible in our time." We need to be working with people in Iran, who hate this government, to help them overthrow it.
The above quotations are from Connecticut Senate Debate on WTNH-TV, moderated by George Stephanopoulos, Oct. 23, 2006, plus Oct. 19 debate moderated by Al Terzi and Angela Dias, WTIC. Featuring incumbent Joe Lieberman, Democratic candidate Ned Lamont, and Republican Alan Schlesinger..
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