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Having Ousted Incumbent, Lamont Focuses on Fall Election

Winner of Connecticut's Democratic primary, Ned Lamont, who spent $4 million of his own money in a successful bid to oust incumbent three-term Senator Joe Lieberman, discusses the Senate race ahead of him as he challenges a Republican candidate and Lieberman again, who has decided to run as an independent.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    And now we're joined by the winner of Connecticut's Senate Democratic primary, Ned Lamont. Mr. Lamont, welcome.

  • NED LAMONT:

    Hi, Gwen, happy to be here.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Great. So what did last night's victory tell you about what voters in Connecticut want?

  • NED LAMONT:

    Well, they call Connecticut the land of steady habits, and I think yesterday the people of Connecticut voted for change. They don't want to stay the course in Iraq; they don't want to stay the course here in America. They want change. They want to start investing in our country again, investing in clean energy, investing in universal health care for everybody. That's what I heard.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    In fact, there was a CBS News-New York Times exit poll that was taken last night. And of the people who voted, 61 percent said that Iraq was a very important issue. Does that translate, do you think, into a national debate?

  • NED LAMONT:

    I think it does. I think Iraq is a defining issue. Are we safer than we were before the invasion of Iraq? Have we destabilized the Middle East? Have he emboldened Iran? Is Israel any safer?

    I think the answers to those questions are kind of clear, that the war in Iraq was a bad decision for this country. Now we have 132,000 of our bravest troops stuck in the middle of a bloody civil war, and it's time to have a methodical and phased withdrawal of our troops and let the Iraqis take control of their own destiny.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Do you think the voters are telling people in Washington to pull out of Iraq right away or eventually?

  • NED LAMONT:

    What I've said was I think the Kerry-Feingold amendment made sense. They said: Look, over the course of the next year, let's bring our troops home. Let's let the Iraqis step up. Let's have them take responsibility for their own defense.

    Look, I turned the president's methodology on its head. He says, "We'll stand down as soon as the Iraqis stand up." I don't think the Iraqis will stand up until we stand down. So let's let them know what our intentions are, and that is, over the course of the next year, we'll be bringing our troops home.

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