NEW HAVEN, Conn. — On each of the 28 trees along Joe Lieberman’s block, there was a large red, white and blue ribbon – good luck charms put up by his neighbors as he and Al Gore made their final push for the White House on Tuesday.
About 20 of Lieberman’s friends and neighbors gathered just down the street from his home Tuesday night, anxiously watching the returns and waiting to hear whether their well-known neighbor – who easily won re-election to the Senate Tuesday – would be the next vice president.
“He’s one of us. It’s like when you have a child and he succeeds – you take pleasure in that success,” said 82-year-old Peggy Saars.
Sometimes when she sees Lieberman walking down the street, Saars coaxes him into political discussions.
“I say, ‘Come over here, young man,’ and then we chat about anything that’s on my mind ... and he listens very attentively,” Saars said.
Jane Snaider, 54, a local Democratic activist, hosted the block party.
“I think he’s about as honest and honorable a politician as you can get,” Snaider said. “There is no other side to him. What you see is what you get.”
Elaine and Maxwell Stock wrote Lieberman a poem, which they shared with his neighbors. “Dear Joe, we want you to know, to the highest office we expect you and Al to go,” it reads in part.
Early returns showed a close presidential race. Many guests were excited – but not all.
“I would love to see the Gore-Lieberman ticket win. I’m fearful that they will not,” said Maxwell Stock.
Guests gathered around a large TV and munched on popcorn, brownies, chocolate cake and – in honor of Lieberman, the first Jewish candidate on a major party ticket – homemade kosher chicken soup.
Snaider said her guests were welcome to stay into the early morning hours if, as pundits predict, the results are not known until then.
“They can stay as long as they want,” she said. “We’re all here for Joe.”
But by midnight, all the guests had gone home to sleep, leaving Snaider alone to watch the returns. She planned to stay up as late as she could.
“It’s once in a lifetime that your neighbor runs for vice president,” Snaider said. “He’s getting all this attention across the country from people he doesn’t even know. His street should be just as intense as the rest of the country.”