Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) hit the national stage with the help of former vice president Al Gore, but he has turned to veteran consultants from the Clinton family political team for help in getting to the White House.

Lieberman announced yesterday that he has recruited Mandy Grunwald as his media adviser for the 2004 presidential campaign. Grunwald made ads for Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential campaign and for Hillary Rodham Clinton in her 2000 bid for the Senate.

Grunwald's hiring means she will be reunited with another Clinton adviser, Mark Penn, the pollster for President Clinton's reelection campaign and for Sen. Clinton's 2000 race.

Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), meanwhile, announced that he has signed up Chicago-based David Axelrod to make the television commercials for his presidential campaign. Axelrod has worked for a variety of Democratic candidates and has considerable experience in Iowa, the site of the presidential precinct caucuses that will mark the first major competition of the 2004 campaign.

Lieberman and Edwards each courted the two admakers.

The announcements follow an earlier statement from the campaign of Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) saying he had hired the Democratic firm of Karl Struble and David Eichenbaum to handle his television ads.

S.C. Will Stage First Debate

After their first joint appearance a week ago, the nine Democratic candidates will meet for their first debate of the campaign on Saturday, May 3, in South Carolina, with ABC News's George Stephanopoulos moderating.

The nine will answer questions for 90 minutes that evening as part of a weekend of activities held by the South Carolina Democratic Party. The debate will be shown on several ABC affiliates in South Carolina, Arizona, New Hampshire and Iowa, all states with early primaries or caucuses next year.

State party chairman Dick Harpootlian waxed enthusiastic about the event's significance. "This is going to be the biggest political event in the history of South Carolina," he said.

Apparently he has already forgotten about the Republican primary between George W. Bush and John McCain in 2000.

Schumer Gets Prepared

Call it preemption, but whatever it is, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) has raised a lot of money, nearly $15 million for his reelection next year, according to campaign finance reports released yesterday.

"Senator Schumer believes in following the Boy Scouts' motto: Be prepared," spokesman Phil Singer told the Associated Press.

What he may be preparing for -- or trying to preempt -- is a challenge from former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R).

Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) had considered running, but announced Monday that he decided not to. King said he hoped Giuliani would challenge Schumer, but also said he doubted that would happen.