Bryan, Reid, pleased with Lieberman pick as VP

RENO - Nevada's two Democratic senators say Al Gore's tapping of Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman as a running mate could help sway independent and other undecided voters to the party's side in November.

Lieberman on Monday accepted Gore's request to be his vice presidential nominee on the Democratic ticket. He is the first Jewish vice presidential candidate for a major political party in American history.

''The other party talks about inclusion, but the Democratic Party lives it,'' said Sen. Richard Bryan, who was a freshman in the Senate with Lieberman in 1988.

''He has a great sense of humor,'' Bryan said. ''He's devoted to his faith. He's a good man. I think Gore's chosen well.''

Both Bryan and Sen. Harry Reid said Lieberman has stood firm with them in Nevada's fight against the federal government's plan to locate the nation's first high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Southern Nevada.

''He's been extremely supportive of our position on the nuclear waste dump,'' said Bryan, who is retiring at the end of the year.

''No one could have been better to go into Nevada with Gore,'' said Reid. ''He's always been with us every time on nuclear waste.''

Reid believes the moderate Lieberman will attract independent voters and some Democrats away from Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.

''He's going to be a tremendous offset to votes Nader could pull off,'' Reid said.

Both Reid and Bryan hailed Lieberman as someone who works to find common ground.

''He's a person with the ability to reach across both sides of the aisle,'' said Bryan. ''He's right where the American public is and can energize independent voters and reach out to the political center.''

''He's not flamboyant,'' said Reid. ''He never gets upset. He's always calm, very deliberate.

Lieberman was the first prominent Democratic lawmaker to openly criticize President Clinton's conduct with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

''He sets a great moral tone for this ticket and the country,'' Reid said.


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