Lieberman, in Texas, Criticizes Bush Links to 'Big Oil'

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

( - Joe Lieberman, you say that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have accepted big donations from oil companies, but you, as a Connecticut Senator, have accepted big campaign contributions from insurance companies. How about that? Lieberman was asked Friday on Fox News.

Lieberman said that's the nature of campaign fund-raising, adding that,"Al Gore and I are the only team in office next January that will accept campaign finance reform."

Lieberman also indicated it's okay to accept campaign contributions if candidates "stand up" to the industries that support them. After mentioning the Big Money that Bush and Cheney have raised from Big Oil, Lieberman said, "I don't see any record of our opponents standing up to Big Oil and telling them [the oil companies] to change at all."

On the other hand, Lieberman justified the millions of dollars he and Gore have accepted from Hollywood, saying that's okay because he and Gore "remain critical [of Hollywood], and that's the test."

"The problems that the campaign finance system has are unfortunately nonpartisan," he said.

Lieberman chastised the Bush-Cheney ticket for failing to take up Gore's offer to voluntarily ban soft-money contributions in this campaign - without waiting for a law forcing them to do it.

"I think that shows the clear difference here between we who are ready to reform and get big money out of the system, and George Bush and Dick Cheney who, I'm afraid, will let the campaign finance system spin out of control," Lieberman said.

The Bush campaign said Gore's offer to forego soft money "is the same tactic that Al Gore tried in March when he said he would forego soft money while he was raising millions of dollars in soft money."

The Bush campaign noted Gore's "history of disregard for campaign finance laws."