Do you remember when Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman declared he was going to ride “Joe-mentum” to success before the New Hampshire primary? Well, the “Joe-mentum” turned out to be “no-mentum” and Lieberman dropped out of the campaign shortly after the South Carolina primary.

Since then, except for a minor news story here and there, we haven’t heard much from the honorable senator, as is often the case with primary has-beens. Today comes the Hartford Courant’s David Lightman defending Lieberman’s absence to his Connecticut constituency: It all boils down to John Kerry’s insistence on keeping Lieberman at phone’s length, while making public spectacles out of his meeting with the other primary runner-ups.

Lightman twice points out the modest phone call relationship:

Although Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman and Kerry did not meet, they have spoken extensively by phone twice in recent days, and could make their first general-election season appearance together at a Florida event soon. Kerry did sit down this week with former rivals Howard Dean and John Edwards.

Edwards and Kerry got together with Edwards’ top financial backers at a Washington hotel Thursday - but Lieberman has only had the phone calls.

Lightman adds, “Kerry’s people made it clear they want Lieberman’s help,” and goes on to describe the key role “Joe-mentum” could play in helping Kerry carry Florida.

That may be wishful thinking, but it’s nice to see Joe’s name in print again.

Thomas Lang

Thomas Lang was a writer at CJR Daily.