LIVE, FROM NEW HAVEN. Lieberman spokeswoman Marion Steinfels took a few minutes to answer some questions about last-minute campaign developments here in Connecticut. My paraphrased questions and her answers follow:
1. Did the latest poll [showing Lieberman down only 6 points, instead of the earlier 13-point deficit] give the Lieberman camp a lift?
I feel like there�s been a bit of a shift, but I think it�s coming down to people having to make a decision. I think people are shifting to our guy because they know him. It�s hard not to get a little pumped, but we were pretty confident already. I also think the earlier poll was a big wake up around the state that got a lot of people asking, �Do we really want to wake up Wednesday to learn Joe Lieberman will not be our senator any more?�
2. What�s your response to Lamont�s decision to spend another $500,000 late in the campaign?
We don�t have any official response. It doesn�t really affect our very aggressive GOTV plan. I don�t know specifically where that money will go, but I do know that he�s outspent us on negative attacks. Ned Lamont�s spending of $4 million to distort our record was, to some degree, effective.
With that said, Lieberman�s voters are focusing in, as we�ve seen already. Despite his $4 million of distortion campaign, we are still confident that our campaign, through paid advertising and the senator�s tour through the state, has been able to explain and clarify our record.
3. How is Lieberman�s state tour going?
Most of the stops have been true events with actual undecided voters with Joe doing one-on-one conversations. It has given him a chance to talk people and to clarify his record. This campaign is down to the final day; it�s no longer two or three weeks away. And I think people are starting to think seriously about their choice tomorrow and we think that [sentiment] will bring a lot of voters back to us. People are going to walk in saying, �Joe Lieberman -- I know this man and he�s represented the state and has a proven record fighting for Connecticut.� And they�re gonna look at Lamont and say �Hmmm.� And they�re gonna have to make a decision right there.
4. How accurate is the New York Times story about your campaign decelerating its field operation?
I think that story was over-reported. We did make a strategic decision to allocate a little bit more money on TV; we upped our media buy. With that said, tomorrow, on the streets of Connecticut, there will be an unprecedented vote operation on the ground.
A campaign obviously wants to put its strongest message forward and project a hopeful belief that late-stage developments will break their way. But I think I would have been able to sniff out desperation spin from Steinfels, and I just didn't. Her assertion that they were pumped before the latest poll didn't pass the sniff test, but much of what else she said did.
So it seems that the Lieberman folks believe that, contrary to conventional wisdom, late breakers will return to Lieberman, at least in part because they have managed to sow seeds of doubt about Lamont while allaying many early doubts about Lieberman. We'll find out tomorrow if the allaying-Joe's-doubters-plus-sowing-Ned-doubters formula was enough to pull Lieberman over the line at the last moment.
Still to come: I will be covering Lamont�s press event in New Haven at 5:45 and then following Lieberman at back-to-back events in Southington and Bristol. I may not have posts up here tonight, but reports for sure by morning.
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