2007.03.30: March 30, 2007: Headlines: Figures: COS - Dominican Republic: Politics: Congress: Election2008 - Dodd: Seattle Post Intelligencer: Joel Connelly writes: Dodd betting that Americans want experienced president

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Dominican Republic: RPCV Chris Dodd (Dominican Republic) : RPCV Chris Dodd: Archived Stories: 2007.03.30: March 30, 2007: Headlines: Figures: COS - Dominican Republic: Politics: Congress: Election2008 - Dodd: Seattle Post Intelligencer: Joel Connelly writes: Dodd betting that Americans want experienced president

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Joel Connelly writes: Dodd betting that Americans want experienced president

Joel Connelly writes: Dodd betting that Americans want experienced president

Dodd is in Seattle Friday for a fundraiser hosted by local businessman Jim Hodge, a buddy since the two men met as Peace Corps volunteers in the Dominican Republic 40 years ago. Dodd believes this month's passage by Congress of an Iraq spending bill with a 2008 pullout date marks the beginning of the end for the administration's war policy. "What happened in the House and Senate, while the president may veto it, marks the death knell for this policy," said Dodd. Dodd is worried about other areas of the world, especially Latin America. He watched earlier this month as Bush made his first extensive trip to South America, only to be hounded by Venezuela's Yankee-baiting President Hugo Chavez. "It saddens me to see an American president, in a part of the world where we've been seen favorably, basically having to hide out," Dodd argued. "But this president has totally ignored a region vital to our interests . . . We are losing the public relations war to Hugo Chavez." He compared the situation to 1958, when Richard Nixon's motorcade was stoned as the then-vice president drove into Caracas, Venezuela's capital. Nixon and his wife Pat were spat upon. "Yet, more than 40 years after his death, huts and hovels from Panama to Tierra del Fuego have pictures of John F. Kennedy," Dodd said. The senator mocked the administration's position on Hemisphere-wide free trade. "It simply means allowing U.S. companies to mark in these countries and take advantage of low wages and lousy working conditions, without contributing in any way to the local people," he said. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic in the 1960's.

Joel Connelly writes: Dodd betting that Americans want experienced president

Sen. Chris Dodd betting that Americans want experienced president

By JOEL CONNELLY
P-I COLUMNIST

A Democrat who withstood Ronald Reagan's first landslide to win his Senate seat, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, is wagering his 2008 hopes on a premise: Americans will NOT want an untried president given the nation's current predicament.

"I've been involved in every major defense and foreign policy debate for the past quarter century," Dodd said in an interview. "Under normal circumstances, 26 years in the Senate would immediately disqualify me from the presidency.

"But we've experienced six years of on-the-job training with George Bush.The man resists learning. People are going to want a president who can do things, not spend years getting to know Washington, D.C.

Dodd is in Seattle Friday for a fundraiser hosted by local businessman Jim Hodge, a buddy since the two men met as Peace Corps volunteers in the Dominican Republic 40 years ago.

He brings one advantage to early skirmishing in the '08 race. Dodd is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, a "juice committee" in the language of fundraisers. He raised more than colleagues Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama in the last quarter of 2006.

Dodd has been central in one of Capitol Hill's high dramas over the war in Iraq.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, his Connecticut colleague, is the one Senate Democrat who has stood with the Bush administration on the war. In 2006, an anti-war businessman named Ned Lamont upset Lieberman in the Democratic primary.

Lieberman ran, and won, in November as an independent. He did so, however, without the support of his 18-year seatmate Chris Dodd.

"It was a very awkward time for two guys who are friends," Dodd said. "It was painful, but I am the leader of the party in my state and I can't go around claiming the judgment of its voters is irrelevant."

Dodd believes this month's passage by Congress of an Iraq spending bill with a 2008 pullout date marks the beginning of the end for the administration's war policy.

"What happened in the House and Senate, while the president may veto it, marks the death knell for this policy," said Dodd.

Dodd is worried about other areas of the world, especially Latin America. He watched earlier this month as Bush made his first extensive trip to South America, only to be hounded by Venezuela's Yankee-baiting President Hugo Chavez.

"It saddens me to see an American president, in a part of the world where we've been seen favorably, basically having to hide out," Dodd argued. "But this president has totally ignored a region vital to our interests . . . We are losing the public relations war to Hugo Chavez."

He compared the situation to 1958, when Richard Nixon's motorcade was stoned as the then-vice president drove into Caracas, Venezuela's capital. Nixon and his wife Pat were spat upon.

"Yet, more than 40 years after his death, huts and hovels from Panama to Tierra del Fuego have pictures of John F. Kennedy," Dodd said.

The senator mocked the administration's position on Hemisphere-wide free trade. "It simply means allowing U.S. companies to mark in these countries and take advantage of low wages and lousy working conditions, without contributing in any way to the local people," he said.

Dodd, 62, has become a father late in life, with a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old at home.

"At the current rates of increase in education costs, I'm going to need to be Willy Sutton to put 'em through college," Dodd said, in a reference to the famous bank robber.

The senator said major reform is needed in three areas -- education, health care and energy policy -- if America's middle class is to survive, and if the American dream is to be made available to the poor.

"We're spending $2.3 trillion -- trillion -- each year on health care, which is 50 cents out of every dollar spent in the world on health," said Dodd, "yet we rank 27th in infant mortality and 28th in life expectancy."

Dodd cited one factor as responsible for the huge, growing income gap between the richest Americans and the country's wage-earners -- the decline in the country's labor unions.

"When you had more union households, it made a huge impact on pay and equality," Dodd argued, "and we recently saw Bush's chairman of the Federal Reserve Board give a speech making that very point."

The Connecticut senator's father, onetime (1958-70) Sen. Thomas Dodd, was executive council for the prosecution at the post-World War II Nuremburg trial that convicted Nazi leaders of war crimes.

The legacy has helped make Chris Dodd an internationalist, and provided one more reason in making him run.

"International structures are important to this country," he argued. "The Bush administration has been dismantling things that are important to us."
P-I columnist Joel Connelly can be reached at 206-448-8160 or joelconnelly@seattlepi.com.




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Headlines: March, 2007; RPCV Chris Dodd (Dominican Republic); Figures; Peace Corps Dominican Republic; Directory of Dominican Republic RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Dominican Republic RPCVs; Politics; Congress; Connecticut





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Story Source: Seattle Post Intelligencer

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Dominican Republic; Politics; Congress; Election2008 - Dodd

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