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Jewish World Review Oct. 18, 2002 / 11 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763

Seth Gitell

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Consumer Reports

Lieberman makes 'em laugh --- on purpose | Move over, Jackie Mason. Step aside, Henny Youngman. Make room for Senator Joseph Lieberman.

For all his many fine attributes - his penchant for honesty, his rigorous pursuit of democracy abroad and Democratic values at home, his tenacity - Lieberman isn't known as the most charismatic politician of the bunch. That's what made his jovial appearance before roughly 200 elderly Jews at the Brookline Senior Center Tuesday so unusual.

Lieberman, who was in town to stump for gubernatorial candidate State Treasurer Shannon O'Brien, began by paying homage to the female politicians present - Brookline Board of Selectmen chair Deborah Goldberg; Brookline School Committee chair Marcia Heist; State Representative Ruth Balser; and O'Brien. " There are some wonderful names, " said the Connecticut senator. " My mother's name is Marcia. So I feel in good company. Then we have Ruth, from the Book of Ruth. Then we have the prophetess Deborah here. " Then he got to O'Brien. " And we have our candidate for governor here, Shayna O'Brien, " Lieberman quipped - substituting for O'Brien's first name the Yiddish word for " pretty " or " nice " - to peals of delight from the senior audience.

That wasn't all. " You all look wonderful. You look really great. You do, " said Lieberman launching into a story about meeting the elderly former head of Connecticut's highest court. " He said, 'There are three stages of life - youth, middle age, and gee-you're-looking-great' - but you are looking great. "

Finally, Lieberman recounted a visit to a Jewish-studies center in Charleston, South Carolina, during the weekend. " Jews first landed in Charleston 300 years ago.... That was 100 years before our nation was born and 200 years before [octogenarian South Carolina senator] Strom Thurmond was born, " Lieberman said.

If Lieberman's political career ever falters, he can always turn to stand-up.

JWR contributor Seth Gitell is the political writer of the Boston Phoenix Comment by clicking here.

10/04/02: Hawking an interpretation (in which Scott Ritter tells our columnist to 'go to H-LL!')
09/13/02: Bush Challenge to U.N. Members: Are You Better than League of Nations?
09/06/02: Iraq attack: Ritter's reversal
08/30/02: Stick with comedy, Jon Stewart
08/16/02: Green around the gills: Nader Effect could cost the Dems the election in three states
08/01/02: Gore's low profile is no accident
07/31/02: President Hillary? Despite her denials, candidacy is not that unlikely
07/26/02: On the road with John Kerry
07/17/02: Meet the 'Clinton' of the 2004 New Hampshire primary
07/12/02: Ancient rivalry: Williams vs. DiMaggio
07/10/02: Warrior spirit
05/08/02: Hosting a TV show will keep Clinton off the streets
04/26/02: Truth in advertising in SaudiLand --- and ours
02/28/02: Time for hipsters to do a reality-check

© 2002, Seth Gitell