Here's a new statement just out from Joe Lieberman
Senator Lott's recent comments about Strom Thurmond's 1948 presidential campaign were hurtful, divisive, and fundamentally un-American. And the hurt they have caused is not going away, and will not until Senator Lott speaks out more explicitly.Honestly, Joe seems a bit late to the party. But he's at least right on the last point. The president's silence is becoming, well ... deafening.
The policies of the past that Senator Lott's initial statement appeared to embrace -- specifically, racial segregation -- are not just "discarded," as his apology put it. They are deeply offensive, morally wrong, and wholly contrary to our nation's most important ideal. And the revelation today that Senator Lott expressed nearly identical sentiments in 1980 raises some troubling questions that Senator Lott must answer immediately and fully if he is to restore his credibility as a national leader.
In particular, I would urge Senator Lott to come forward with a specific renunciation and repudiation of the indefensible days of segregation, which are a painful stain on our history, and which either ruined the lives or compromised the freedom of millions of our fellow Americans.
It's not enough to say his words may have been misinterpreted. He needs to speak from his moral center and make clear his commitment to racial equality. One way to do that would be to go beyond issuing another apology and meet directly with the members of the Congressional Black Caucus and show that he understands the hurt his comments have caused. That would go a long way toward healing the wounds that are widening now.
This is not about politics. It's about the fundamental American principle of equal opportunity -- about the core American value that we are all equal because we are all children of the same God. That's evident from the fact that Americans across the political spectrum -- liberals, centrists, and conservatives; Republicans, Independents, and Democrats; and people of every race -- have expressed outrage at what Senator Lott said.
To that end, I believe that President Bush also has a responsibility, as the nation's leader and the leader of Senator Lott's party, to show us where he stands and make clear that Senator Lott's words were unacceptable. The President has spoken vaguely so far through his press secretary, but that is not enough. These harmful words and their underlying message have hit a nerve among the American people -- offending our most basic values -- and I'm confident the President understands that. But the longer he waits to speak out, the more troubling his silence will be.