Lieberman Stays Tough on Hollywood


Sunday, August 13th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman said Sunday he would not back down from his criticism of Hollywood.

However, Lieberman said that if he and Al Gore are elected, he would not continue issuing annual ``Silver Sewer'' awards to people and companies that he and conservative Republican William Bennett deem ``cultural polluters.''

``There are certain things that a vice president doesn't do that a senator can do,'' Lieberman told NBC's ``Meet the Press.''

Lieberman made the rounds of the morning talk shows, appearing on five. As the Democrats prepared to open their convention in Los Angeles, Lieberman said he would continue pushing for less violence and sex in the public entertainment and that he and Gore feel similarly

``I think that's exactly the message that the vice president has. We have an understanding.... He didn't choose someone who agreed on everything or emphasized all the same points, although I do think we agree on this one,'' said the senator from Connecticut.

Yet Lieberman said he does not believe the Gore campaign needs to return money donated by Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner and his company. This despite Rep. Loretta Sanchez's agreement this week to move a Hispanic-oriented fund-raiser from the Playboy mansion because top Democrats feared the event would undermine Gore's pro-family message.

On the talk shows, Lieberman was asked about a variety of policy differences he has with Gore. Ultimately, he said, he will follow Gore's decisions.

``I'm not going to change my openness to new ideas because that's where progress comes from,'' he told NBC. ``What will change, if I'm fortunate enough to be honored to be elected vice president, after the internal debates that Al and I have, his position will be my position. That's constitutionally necessary.''

—On school vouchers, which Lieberman has supported on a test basis and Gore has opposed, Lieberman said he would press for them privately, though not publicly.

—On Social Security, Lieberman acknowledged that he has considered the idea of partially privatizing the retirement program, though he said he later decided against it. Gore opposes privatization.

``It may not cut it to make us as comfortable as we want to be,'' he told ``Fox News Sunday.'' ``But the important thing is it creates a floor below which you and I — I think we're privileged —but most Americans will not fall.''

—On raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 75, Lieberman told CNN's ``Late Edition'' that at one time he refused to dismiss the idea because Medicare's financial situation was so dire, but that today, that is not necessary. Gore opposes raising the age.

—On campaign fund raising, Lieberman told ABC's ``This Week'' that he believes Gore had ``learned from his mistakes'' but said Republicans had erred as well. Lieberman supports limiting the amount of money candidates could spend on campaigns.

Lieberman acknowledged on Fox that insurance and pharmaceutical companies — criticized by Gore — have been some of his biggest supporters financially. He said he would continue to accept their donations.