Lieberman hires Dem consultant, GOP pollster

    Sen. Joe Lieberman continued retooling his campaign staff Friday, hiring a nationally known pollster and media consultant to assist in his independent re-election bid.

    Lieberman hired Democratic consultant Josh Isay, who has worked for Republican New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and GOP pollster Neil Newhouse, who lists popular Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell of Connecticut among his clients.

    Lieberman, who must appeal to Republicans and unaffiliated voters to beat Lamont and Republican Alan Schlesinger in November, touted the new hires as proof of his campaign’s bipartisanship.

    “They are not just among the best in their respective businesses, but they bring a deep knowledge of Connecticut from across the political spectrum, which will be essential to our effort to build a broad coalition of Democrats, Republicans, and independents,” Lieberman said in a written statement.

    It’s the second major campaign change since Lieberman lost the Democratic primary last week to Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont. Lieberman had previously replaced his campaign manager and campaign spokeswoman and asked other staff members to reapply for their jobs.

    Isay replaces Carter Eskew, who had worked with Lieberman in 1988 when he defeated then-Republican U.S. Sen. Lowell P. Weicker Jr.

    Lamont edged Lieberman by 10,000 votes in the primary by criticizing Lieberman’s support for the Iraq war and linking him to President Bush.

    A day after the primary, Lieberman filed petitions to run as an independent in November’s general election. A recent poll shows Lieberman leading Lamont by 12 percentage points among likely voters, with Schlesinger trailing far behind.

    Liz Dupont-Diehl, Lamont’s campaign spokeswoman, said the hirings show Lieberman just wants to “hold onto power.”

    “These new appointments beg the question: Who is the real Joe Lieberman?” she said.

    Top state and national Democrats are endorsing Lamont. Some city mayors and state House Speaker James Amann are supporting Lieberman.

    Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press