Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont at her Westchester County home Friday morning, discussing campaign strategy and fundraising in an hourlong meeting over coffee, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said.
"It was a great meeting. Senator Clinton thinks Ned Lamont did a fabulous job in Connecticut," Wolfson said, referring to Lamont's stunning upset victory over Sen. Joe Lieberman in the state's Democratic primary.
"They talked about what Mr. Lamont can expect from the George Bush-Karl Rove attack machine," Wolfson said. "She told him Republicans were invested in defeating him."
Lieberman, who lost the Aug. 8 primary to Lamont largely over his outspoken support for the Iraq war and perceived closeness to President Bush, is now running against Lamont as an independent. Polls show the two running neck and neck, with Lieberman slightly ahead.
Clinton and Lamont were joined at the meeting by Wolfson, Lamont campaign manager Tom Swan, and Lamont's wife, Annie. Clinton and Lamont had never met before, Wolfson said.
Swan said Lamont had found the meeting beneficial.
"It was clear that Senator Clinton and her team want to be helpful to Ned's election in November," Swan said.
Clinton, who has already contributed $5,000 from her political action committee to the Lamont campaign, offered to host a fundraising event for Lamont and help out with other fundraising. No date or location was set for the fundraiser, Wolfson said.
"She'll do whatever works for the campaign," he added.
Clinton, who has borne considerable criticism from anti-war activists and bloggers for her refusal to recant her 2002 vote authorizing the Iraq conflict, moved quickly to endorse Lamont after his primary victory. Before the primary she offered tepid support to Lieberman, a friend since their days at Yale Law School, but never campaigned for him.
Lieberman spokesman Dan Gerstein said he wasn't surprised Clinton was offering further support to Lamont, but suggested it probably wouldn't help much.
"If endorsements meant anything, Joe Lieberman would have won the primary running away," Gerstein said, adding, "Senator Clinton's position on Iraq is far closer to Joe Lieberman's than it is to Ned Lamont's."
As if to illustrate the new Clinton-Lamont partnership, Wolfson, who is one of Clinton's senior political strategists, said Friday he would join the Lamont campaign as an adviser.
"She wanted me to do it, and I wanted to do it," Wolfson said. "It's vitally important that we elect a Democrat to that seat."