BUSH FLIRTS WITH...

BUSH FLIRTS WITH LIEBERMAN. One of the more puzzling moments in George W. Bush's interview on Larry King last night was when he was asked whether he would endorse Joe Lieberman for Senate should he lose the Democratic primary and run as an independent. Bush dodged that as follows:

G. BUSH: First, the Democrats have to sort out who their nominee is going to be, and that's going to be up to the Democrats. And the rest of it's hypothetical.

KING: But he said he would run as an independent, if he were...

G. BUSH: He also has said he's going to win his primary.

KING: I know you like him.

G. BUSH: You're trying to get me to give him a political kiss, which may be his death.

KING: You hugged him before the State of the Union, right? No, I know you generally...

G. BUSH: The Democrats are going to figure it out. They'll figure it out.

KING: So you would not make a decision on that.

G. BUSH: Well, I'm not going to wade into a Democratic primary in the state of Connecticut.

Now this is just silly. Bush is a Republican. Why would he endorse an independent candidate who used to be a Democrat over the Republican in the race? Couldn't he have just said "I'll endorse the Republican"? Now, granted, he may not know the obscure Republican candidate's name (former state Rep. Alan Schlesinger). But is it possible, instead, that Bush is shrewdly working to help Lamont beat Lieberman? If Bush leaves open the possibility that he'll endorse Lieberman as an independent, then it reinforces the Democratic primary voters' perception that Lieberman is just Bush-lite. If that helps tip them towards voting for Ned Lamont, which is the only scenario in which Schlesinger stands a chance, then so much the better from Bush's perspective.

--Ben Adler

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