Dodd, Ignored, Picks A Happy Place

by Melissa Bailey | January 1, 2008 9:47 AM | | Comments (1)

IMG_0337.JPGDubuque, Iowa — While other presidential hopefuls clinked glasses in the camera-packed state capitol, Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd pooh-poohed the absent media as he shared New Year’s cheer with supporters at “Happy’s Place.”

Dodd, who’s speeding across Iowa in a final scramble to garner support for the Democratic nomination in Thursday’s caucuses here, brought in the New Year on the banks of the Mississippi, in the east Iowan city of Dubuque.

In a state saturated with an international media swarm seemingly large enough to populate a nation of its own, only one reporter brought in the new year with Connecticut’s longshot presidential hopeful. Me.

Outside the bar sat Dodd’s campaign bus, empty after a long day on the road.

Inside Happy’s Place, Dodd sung a note of optimism that he could somehow emerge from Thursday’s contest with “a ticket out of here,” by which he means at least a fourth-place finish. Dodd temporarily relocated his family to Iowa in October, devoting almost his entire campaign to this first in the nation nominating contest.

Just three days before Iowans congregate to vote, the latest poll shows the candidate capturing the support of only 2 percent of likely caucus-goers. In a speech before campaign staff and supporters, Dodd brushed off the polls.

“Poll numbers don’t win an election. Character does,” declared Dodd, thrusting his finger in the air and touting his foreign relations experience and his respect for the Constitution. To a crowd that included a sole reporter, Dodd and his wife, Jackie Clegg Dodd, leapt on the national media for never giving him a chance.

Dodd said he empathizes with Republican contender Mike Huckabee, who, Dodd said, once joked he was getting so little media attention he had to take pictures of himself with a cell phone camera and post them on the Internet.

“The media figured this race out a long time ago. You’re almost unnecessary to the process,” said Jackie Dodd in a campaign pitch.

The crowd included campaign staff, members of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which has thrown its weight behind Dodd, and a few still-undecided voters sitting at the bar. One was leaning towards Hillary, but was giving Dodd a second look. Another said he might go Republican.

And a local precinct chair with a Dodd sticker on his shirt said he planned to support Joe Biden, but came by to check out the party.

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Posted by: bugupit | January 1, 2008 1:49 PM

Good for sticking with it, Melissa. So the dozens of CT political reporters and pundits migrating to Iowa this week were nowhere near Sen. Dodd on New Year's Eve? Help answer the mystery of the missing Nutmeggers!

A quick pitch for voter participation -- unregistered or unaffiliated voters have until January 31 to register by mail as Dem or GOP and vote in the Connecticut Presidential Preference Primaries on February 5. (Deadline to appear in person at your town Registrar is Feb 4)

Mrs. Dodd is correct, almost. What I don't understand, is why Dodd did not "figure() this race out a long time ago. (He's) almost unnecessary to the process," He's a smart guy, but shelved his brains about a year ago.

From August 2006 to January 2007 Sen. Chris Dodd conducted his exploratory campaign testing voter and media reaction and donor generosity. The results were clear to all but the Senator and his inner circle --- he had no chance. He never should have declared for the full run. This run is ego-driven and a disservice to his Connecticut constituents. He has moved his family to Iowa? I'd like to see a Hartford Courant editorial on that! What's his total missed votes in the Senate this session? Did he go to his day job at all in December?

I like Sen. Chris Dodd. He is great on the constitution and pretty good on foreign policy, domestic issue too. For me, his weak area is corporate influence and his banking chairmanship, and more than a little inside-the-beltway stench. Overall, I think he would be a very good president, I would probably prefer him #2 or #3 among Dems running.

However, his Quixotic persistence in the 2008 race reflects poorly on his judgment. We told him in the Quinnipiac Poll months ago, "Come Home Chris Dodd". You don't believe in polls? Voters will soon make this clear to you.

It's too bad, and perhaps ultimately undemocratic, that even if Dodd were to quit after New Hampshire, his name will still be on the Connecticut ballot. He will probably not quit before his home state votes February 5, and will make a reasonably good showing here. But I am sure that his CT percentage will confirm what we know from the polls, that he is not taken seriously as a potential nominee, even here, and was just a safe sentimental vote in our Primary -- which as usual will see the nomination decided in other states.

I would really like to see CT Dems express their preference on February 5 unclouded by votes for a favorite son as they choose among candidates that range from DLC moderates to unashamed liberals. Following the clear preference of Lamont over Lieberman and DeStefano over Malloy in the 2006 Primary being negated by the central party in the general election, Connecticut Democrats would now benefit from a February 5 opportunity to express with clarity whether they stand to the right or to the left of the spectrum that is our party. As a majority, are Connecticut Democrats with DiNardo and Amann and Lieberman or with Paindiris/Olsen and Williams/Looney and Donovan/Sharkey, and Courtney, Murphy and Himes? It will be important to have an answer to this question one year from now when we begin to consider challengers to Governor Rell.

Dodd is unnecessary both to the process of Connecticut Democrats selecting a preferred Presidential Nominee and to this opportunity for our party to express where it stands politically. We must vote for our preferred national contender, not for our boy.

Unregistered or unaffiliated may register as Dem or GOP by January 31 and vote in your Presidential Preference Primary on February 5.

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