Son of vice presidential candidate attends Norman reception

Sunday, October 29th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- The son of Al Gore's running mate, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, reiterated his father's positions on the issues in the upcoming presidential election, but Matt Lieberman couldn't help putting in a good word or two for the vice presidential hopeful.

"He's just a great dad, the most kind, caring, decent man I know...with him, what you see is what you get," Matt Lieberman told reporters before attending a reception on Sunday hosted by the Oklahoma Democratic Party at his Aunt Rietta Lieberman-Miller's house.

The younger Lieberman, a 33-year-old high school English teacher in New Haven, Conn., said he put his career on hold until after the election so he could help his father.

"I just want to get the message out: Times are good, and these are good men...even though times are good, people still need help."

The younger Lieberman said he has tried to point out the differences between the two parties' proposed programs, particularly emphasizing the Gore-Lieberman ticket's plans for education.

"They aren't going to drain money from public schools so a few who go to private schools can benefit," he said.

His father and Gore, he added, particularly support reducing class sizes in public schools and repairing crumbling schools.

"As a teacher, these are two specific education programs that I think can make the most difference."

The younger Lieberman also noted his father's support of reducing the price of prescription drugs, particularly for the elderly, making sure the country's military is strong, and ensuring that the social security system is solvent.

"People are focusing more and more on how this election is going to affect their lives," Matt Lieberman said. "They're going to be looking at the candidates with that in mind."

He predicted that the race would remain close up the last day, "and it makes it exciting, because it shows people their one vote does count."

Lieberman said he and his three siblings -- sister Rebecca, 31; brother Ethan, 24, and sister Hannah, 12 -- have been used to a father who has always been in public service. The idea he might someday be a candidate for vice president was never discussed, though, he said.

"This all came up rather suddenly," he said. "Suddenly, our dad was going places, but if anyone in this country should be going places, it is my dad."

Matt Lieberman said he has a law degree and practiced as a lawyer for a couple of years before realizing he didn't want a career as an attorney. He quit law practice to teach, and said he has never regretted it.

Matt Lieberman said he is looking forward to returning to teaching after the election.

"I expect my life to return to normal."