Jockeying for name recognition and post position, the candidates for the 2004 Democratic primary are busily trying to stake out the issues that will define them as the election unfolds — and Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman has settled on energy independence. In his first major policy speech, given yesterday to environmentalists, Lieberman declared a goal of reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil by nearly two-thirds within the decade and eliminating it entirely within 20 years. To reach that goal, he proposed new fuel-economy standards; incentives to auto manufacturers to produce more efficient vehicles; smarter use of national resources, including cleaner coal; requirements that utilities purchase 20 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2020; and tax credits for consumers and businesses for buying fuel-efficient vehicles. With the speech, Lieberman joined fellow Democratic candidates Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) and Rep. Richard Gephardt (Mo.) in taking a stand on renewable resources and conservation to wean the country off of foreign oil.