Tech leaders stump for Lieberman

In early maneuvering for the 2004 election, a group of technology executives and venture capitalists says they believe Sen. Joseph Lieberman is the best choice for president.

Declan McCullagh
Declan McCullagh Former Senior Writer
Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.
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In some early maneuvering for the 2004 election, a group of technology executives and venture capitalists said Wednesday that they believe Sen. Joseph Lieberman is the best choice for president.

The group of 12 business leaders includes venture capitalist John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and Handspring CEO Donna Dubinsky, both of whom endorsed the Connecticut Democrat when he was campaigning on the Democratic Party ticket with Al Gore in 2000.

"Among presidential candidates, Joe Lieberman is the leading champion of innovation and technology for all Americans," Doerr said in a statement. "Joe Lieberman gets it. He is a leader with high intellect, integrity and faith who truly understands how our innovation economy works. Opportunity and technology are at the center of Joe's economic revival plan to create jobs."

Doerr--whose legendary firm has invested in companies such as Sun Microsystems and Intuit, as well as less successful start-ups such as WebMD and teen site Kibu.com--was part of Lieberman's fund-raising network three years ago and is a reliable contributor to the Democratic Party.

Doerr appears on Mother Jones magazine's "Mother Jones 400" list of top political contributors, giving about $500,000 to Democratic Party causes during the two years before the 2000 election. In 2001 and 2002, Doerr gave a combined total of about $200,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Other Lieberman endorsers included Henry Samueli, chairman of Broadcom; Dan Scheinman, a vice president of Cisco Systems; and John Freidenrich of the Bay Partners venture capital firm.

"Joe Lieberman understands that encouraging innovation is the key that will unlock our country's economic future," said Handspring's Dubinsky. "He's been a tireless advocate for high tech as senator, and will continue those efforts as president."

Lieberman, a centrist Democratic, has received a life rating of 100 percent from the Information Technology Industry Council, which compiles lists of technology votes in Congress with an emphasis on trade. But in a 2000 Wired News scorecard that looked at broad attempts to regulate Internet activity and commerce, Lieberman received just 38 percent, the fifth-worst ranking.

In the run-up to the 2000 election, Lieberman sided with the tech industry on lifting the cap on H1-B visas, extending the moratorium on Internet taxes, extending the research and development tax credit, and promoting antispam legislation. But his views on censorship--mandating V-chips, labeling videos, rating videogames--were more controversial, and Lieberman's campaign was caught spamming earlier this year.

Other Democrats hoping to unseat President Bush in 2004 include Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Al Sharpton, former Illinois Sen. Carole Moseley-Braun, and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.