Election Issues

GOP, Republican convention, convention speakers
Charles Dharapak/AP
Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., left, watches while campaigning for Republican
presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain.

Campaign Profiles: Key Speakers at the Republican National Convention: Tuesday

September 02, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
Hurricane Gustav caused the Republican Party to delay the ceremonies associated with their national convention. As a result, the speaking lineup has seen some last-minute changes, with Sen. Joe Lieberman and former presidential candidate Fred Thompson filling in for keynote speaker Rudy Giuliani.

Joe Lieberman

Joe Lieberman is currently in his fourth term as senator of Connecticut. He entered the national spotlight in 2000 when he joined the Democratic ticket as Al Gore’s vice-president choice. The self-described “independent Democrat” supported John McCain early in the election, marking the first cross-party endorsement of 2008.

The senator joined Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as a constant fixture on the McCain campaign, which sparked speculation that he would be McCain’s pick for vice president. But Lieberman consistently denied any interest in the position.
Born and brought up in Stamford, Connecticut, Lieberman earned his undergraduate degree from Yale College in 1964, and a law degree from Yale Law three years later. In 1970, he entered the Connecticut State Senate, serving for 10 years; he was Majority Leader for the last six years of his tenure. He served as Attorney General of Connecticut from 1983 to 1988 and became senator in 1988. Lieberman and his wife Hadassah have four children and five grandchildren.

Previously a Democrat, Lieberman began moving closer to the Republican platform in 2000 on issues of defense and foreign policy, especially the U.S. role in Iraq. Lieberman switched to the Independent Party after losing the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont in his bid for the 2006 Senate election.

While Lieberman still caucuses with Democrats, leaders of the party have stated that he may face consequences for his appearance at the Republican convention.

Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson is a former Tennessee senator and presidential candidate with a long legal and political career, but who is perhaps most widely known for his work in television and film.

One of many contenders for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, Thompson dropped out of the race in January and threw his support to John McCain.
Born and raised in Sheffield, Alabama, Thompson attended Memphis State University and Vanderbilt, where he earned a law degree in 1967. Appointed as an Assistant U.S. Attorney soon after graduation, Thompson took part in the Watergate Hearings as a minority counsel to the Senate hearings.

After returning to public law for a few years, Thompson began acting on film and television, earning credits in a number of motion pictures, including “No Way Out” and “The Hunt for Red October.”

In 1994, Thompson entered politics, winning a special senate election in Tennessee, which won again two years later. During his time in the U.S. Senate, Thompson served on a number of committees, including as chair of the Senate Committee on Government Affairs.

In 2002, Thompson went back to acting, most particularly on the TV show “Law and Order” and its various spinoffs. He has occasionally returned to political roles, such as serving as an advisor to Justice John Roberts during his senate approval hearings.

Thompson entered the election in 2007, announcing his candidacy on the “Tonight Show,” but dropped out after failing to build on early campaign momentum.

Thompson is married and has four children.

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