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Dodd on "Meet the Press" warns against "dangerous move" in Iran

Dodd on Meet the Press warns against dangerous move in Iran

MR. RUSSERT: You think we’re getting precariously close to military action against Iran?

SEN. DODD: I do. I think there’s a—I—clearly the administration seems to be pointing in that direction, and I think that’s a dangerous move at this juncture here. And again, I don’t—I’m not going to take a backseat to anyone in my concerns about the problems that Iran poses here. And I would not exclude the use of military force in dealing with that. But it seems to me that arrow ought not to be drawn out of our quiver until we examine and explore fully the opportunities to reduce those threats, much as the administration has now done in North Korea. For six years they objected to the approach the Clinton administration took on North Korea. They finally came to that point of view, and today you don’t hear much talk about North Korea because I think we’ve handled that well in the last couple of months. But here in Iran, I think clearly there’s an effort to pursue a military action. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic in the 1960's.

Dodd on "Meet the Press" warns against "dangerous move" in Iran

‘Meet the Press’ transcript for Oct. 28, 2007

Chris Dodd, Tom DeFrank, William Safire

updated 1:29 p.m. ET, Sun., Oct. 28, 2007

But first, in just 67 days voters will caucus in Iowa, the first step in selecting our next president. And with us is a candidate who’s moved his family to the Hawkeye State in a final push in his quest for the Democratic nomination, Senator Chris Dodd.

Senator Chris Dodd, welcome.

SEN. CHRIS DODD (D-CT): Thank you, sir. Good to be with you.

MR. RUSSERT: The president just announced that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a foreign terrorist organization and imposed sanctions on Iran. Do you support the sanctions?

SEN. DODD: Absolutely. I think it’s the right way to go. In fact, we’ll be dealing with that legislation in the committee I serve on. That’s the—that’s the appropriate way to go. What is not the right way to go, in my view, is the resolution adopted several weeks ago in the Senate, the large vote here, which almost exclusively focused on the military option in Iran. Iran poses some serious issues. Certainly the accumulation or the possibility of accumulating nuclear weapons, obviously supporting terrorism in the region are serious questions that the United States has to address. The best way to approach that at this juncture is through the sanctions, the diplomatic approach, in my view, building the relationships that we need to build in order to effectively convince the Iranians that their direction they’re going in is one they have to stop. And that’s my concern. This vote the other day seems to belie that approach on sanctions and diplomacy.

MR. RUSSERT: But back in March, Senator, you were a co-sponsor of a resolution that said this: “The secretary of state should designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a foreign terrorist organization.” “The secretary of the treasury should place the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on the list of Specially Designated Global Theorists relating to blocking property,” “prohibiting transactions with persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism.” What’s the difference?

SEN. DODD: Well, a huge difference, Tim. That was the, the Gordon Smith bill, which he introduced, 68 of his co-sponsors, Senator Kennedy, myself, Jim Webb, among others here, that was exclusively focused on diplomacy and sanctions and specifically said no military action should be taken in Iran without the prior approval of the Congress. Very, very different approaches than the resolution offered by Senators Kyl and Lieberman, which, the language on diplomacy and sanctions was removed before the final vote. The only reference there was keeping military force possibly in Iraq in order to deal with the Iranian situation. Very, very different.

Jim Webb vehemently opposed the Kyl-Lieberman resolution. In fact, one of the leaders in the opposition, along with Dick Lugar, along with Chuck Hagel, there were bipartisan opposition to that approach, and the, the approach obviously that Gordon Smith suggested was one that enjoyed broad-based support because it was more expansive and included other options other than just the military one.

MR. RUSSERT: But the resolution you’re talking about by Senator Kyl and Senator Lieberman received almost three-fourths of the Senate.

SEN. DODD: It did.

MR. RUSSERT: And it did mention diplomacy.

SEN. DODD: No, that language was taken out, Tim, specifically taken out, the, the paragraph referring to diplomacy and economics. And that’s the resolution you’re going to see. What, what didn’t we learn from October 2002 in a sense? The administration clearly is on a drumbeat here, given the Cheney speeches by the vice president, the Vice President Cheney speeches, the, the announcement the other day, even though including sanctions. Clearly this administration is moving in that direction, towards military action against Iran. And I believe that you’ll see, clearly, those who supported that resolution on September 26th, that’ll be one of the justifications that the Bush administration gives for military action in Iran if it comes. And I believe we’re getting precariously close to that happening. That’s why I think that vote was so dangerous.

MR. RUSSERT: You think we’re getting precariously close to military action against Iran?

SEN. DODD: I do. I think there’s a—I—clearly the administration seems to be pointing in that direction, and I think that’s a dangerous move at this juncture here. And again, I don’t—I’m not going to take a backseat to anyone in my concerns about the problems that Iran poses here. And I would not exclude the use of military force in dealing with that. But it seems to me that arrow ought not to be drawn out of our quiver until we examine and explore fully the opportunities to reduce those threats, much as the administration has now done in North Korea. For six years they objected to the approach the Clinton administration took on North Korea. They finally came to that point of view, and today you don’t hear much talk about North Korea because I think we’ve handled that well in the last couple of months. But here in Iran, I think clearly there’s an effort to pursue a military action.

MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe that, in effect, the vote for the resolution of September 26th—one of them was cast by Hillary Clinton...

SEN. DODD: Yes, it was.

MR. RUSSERT: ...was a de facto vote for war with Iran?

SEN. DODD: I think it gives a justification for it. That’s my concern with it here. Much as you saw back in ‘02, 2002 in October, the resolution which I supported at the time, said the president ought to look at diplomatic approaches in that language, but clearly had no intention of doing that as we’ve, as we’ve subsequently learned. And it gave them the argument that the Congress gave overwhelming support, almost by the same vote, I might add. There were only 23 votes against that resolution, October of ‘02, about 75, 76 votes in favor of it. So the similarities are startling, in my view, and it was used and waved back, over and over again, “Congress and the Democrats went along with this.” What haven’t we learned of—over that time period? Seems to me that’s why that vote was such a bad one, and I think Mrs. Clinton, my colleague from New York, cast the wrong vote on that issue, terribly so.

MR. RUSSERT: You mentioned October of 2002. Let me bring you back to that day, October 9th, specifically when you went to the Senate floor and spoke in favor of authorizing the war in Iraq.

SEN. DODD: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: Here it is.


SEN. DODD: There’s no question that Iraq poses biological and chemical weapons, that’s not in doubt, and that he seeks to acquire additional weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. That’s not in debate. I also agree with President Bush that Saddam Hussein is a threat to peace and must be disarmed.

(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT: What do you think when you watch those words?

SEN. DODD: Well, I read the whole speech, and I did last evening in preparation for coming here this morning. And I also cautioned there that we explore, let the, let the inspectors stay on the job here. And many of us, most of us believed, even Carl Levin for instance, who took a very different view than I did, acknowledged the fact that the weapons of mass destruction were there and the possibility of accumulating. We were all drawn into that. I regret that vote, obviously. Like to have it back. You can’t. I’ve said as much. It was a mistake, in my view, here. But I also at that time and also in March of ‘03, strongly cautioned the administration not to aggressively pursue the military option without seeing whether or not we could actually prove that the weapons of mass destruction existed there.

Colin Powell said it well before the Senate Foreign Relations committee. He said if this is about regime change, we should not go in. If it’s about dealing with weapons of mass destruction, that’s a cause for war. I agreed with him then. I agreed with him then. I think that was the appropriate way to approach the issue. And certainly we’ve learned painfully that that was not the issue. The weapons of mass destruction did not exist.

MR. RUSSERT: But, Senator, your support for the war continued. Here you are in July of 2005, almost two years after you voted for the authorization. Here’s Chris Dodd on MEET THE PRESS.


SEN. DODD: We need to complete this job, which I support, by the way. We’ve got a lot of things we need to do.

(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT: And then in February of ‘06, when asked specifically about a deadline for withdrawal of troops, here’s Chris Dodd: “‘Senator Dodd, do you agree that setting a deadline would tip off the enemy so to speak?’ Dodd: ‘Yeah, I’m opposed to deadlines.’”

SEN. DODD: Well, let me—just first of all, it was in—in September of ‘04, I said it was a mistake that we went in. Hartford Courant will report that, September 28th, 2004. What I talked about on the program here was we’re there. We got in mistakenly. How do we complete this in a successful way? And certainly the idea—I initially did not like the idea of having deadlines. But, Tim, I’ve come to the conclusion, as many others have as well—and people on the ground conclude this as well—this was not going well at all here. This was—the issue that was raised by John Warner to General Petraeus before the Senate Armed Services Committee a few weeks ago, is America safer? That’s the issue the American president has to answer. Are we keeping our country safe and secure? And I believe that our continued military presence in Iraq does not keep us safe and secure. I think we’re far more vulnerable, I think we’re far more isolated today than in any time in recent history, and that we need to change direction on this policy.

Our young men and women are doing an incredible job. I’ve been there many times, I have great respect for the work they’re doing. But I think we’re all coming to the conclusion that as long as we continue to be engaged in a military—civil war, rather, in the country, the ability for us to sort that out—just even recent articles will indicate here—we’re arming Sunnis in Anbar province to kill Shias. And around Baghdad here, the Shias are keeping the Sunnis out of the police departments here. We’re basically acting like a, a bouncer in a bar brawl in a sense, here, with both sides trying to keep them apart from each other. The Iraqis have to decide whether or not they want to be a nation-state or not. That’s not a decision for us to make. We can create space for them, we can help them get there, but ultimately they have to make that decision. They’re not making it. And I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to possibly get them to move in that direction is to say with clarity that our military participation in your country is coming to a close.

You asked the question the other night at Dartmouth College here, of all of the candidates, will you commit that by the end of your first term in 2013 we’ll have our troops out of there? I was stunned to hear three of the so-called leading candidates say they would not make that commitment. When you asked me the question, I said I will. In fact, I hope we have it completed by 2009, and you can do it safely and securely for our troops here. So, in the past, I have been reluctant to support time certains—deadlines, if you will. But I came to the conclusion almost a year ago—in fact, I was here, having just come back from, from Baghdad. We talked at this table. And I met with young soldiers over there who said this is just not working. We need to change this policy. I think we want some decisive action here, we want some clarity on this. We’re not getting it. In my view, we should be changing the fundamental policy. That is not to walk away diplomatically from the region. There are many things we can do, Tim, to make a difference. But I think we’re, we’re deluding ourselves in believing that $10 billion a month, almost 4,000 lives lost, almost 29,000 injured, 80 to 100,000 Iraqis have lost their lives, four million have left the country. Listen to the ground—troops on the ground. They will tell you over and over again, despite the fact their willingness to serve, this is not going well at all, and it’s affecting us everywhere else in the world, Tim.

MR. RUSSERT: You said the other day, “All that loss for what?” Do you believe that the troops have died in vain?
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SEN. DODD: No, I don’t. And I don’t think it’s a question of winning or losing. Baker-Hamilton, other reports have pointed out there was no military solution here. You can’t win or lose where your goal was never to have a victory here. Our, our operation was to create the space for the Iraqis to be able to come to some reconciliation, both politically and religiously. The American president, the vice president, leading military figures, members of Congress have begged the Iraqi leadership to reconcile their differences. This past summer they took a month-long vacation after, once again, we plead with them to try and work things out and come together. I don’t think we can arrange that for them any longer.

MR. RUSSERT: But answer that question. “All that loss for what?” What did they die for?

SEN. DODD: Well, listen. I don’t think soldiers who do their job every day die in vain. They were asked to do a job here.

MR. RUSSERT: So what did they die for?

SEN. DODD: Well, hopefully to create some space in Iraq here for they—for them to come together, so the state should have a chance of succeeding.

MR. RUSSERT: You, you said in April something that you had not said before—and let me play it for you—from Southern New Hampshire University. Here’s Chris Dodd.

(Videotape, April 20, 2007)

SEN. DODD: You’re never going to convince me that the war in Iraq was exclusive about democracy and about Saddam Hussein. It was about oil. Don’t have any doubts about it.

(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT: “It was about oil. Don’t have any doubts about it.” You never mentioned oil until April of this year.

SEN. DODD: Well, not publicly. But certainly I think that was one of the major factors. Someone said to me in New Hampshire, in fact, that very state, some weeks before, if Iraq were growing turnips and not having oil, was there likely we’d have been there as strong as we were? And I suspect that’s the case. Alan Greenspan said the same thing before.

MR. RUSSERT: But why didn’t you say that back in ‘02?

SEN. DODD: Well, good question. I mean, that was one of the reasons I think we were there.

MR. RUSSERT: Let me ask you about your comments about how safe we are.

SEN. DODD: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe we are safer now, as a country, with Saddam gone?

SEN. DODD: I, I think we’re better off without him there. But if that—if the question ends there, then it’s not...

MR. RUSSERT: But are we safer?

SEN. DODD: Well, I don’t think we’re safer in the sense with all that’s happened afterwards. If, if—you can’t disregard what’s happened afterwards here. The fact that we didn’t—we weren’t able to build the kind of society in Iraq, or at least help them achieve that result certainly has made us less safe. I think the answer that General Petraeus gave when John Warner asked him the very simple question “Are we safer?” And he said, “I don’t know,” I think he was being candid in that answer to that question. And frankly I don’t think we are. That’s my conclusion. When you raise your right hand on January 20th, 2009, you’re going to be asked to swear to two things: that is protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and to protect our country from enemies both foreign and domestic, in effect keeping us safer. And, Tim, I don’t think we are safer.

MR. RUSSERT: But in December of ‘03, again, Chris Dodd, “Of course, we’re safer with Saddam gone.”

SEN. DODD: Well, again, I think you could make a case then, but certainly we’ve learned since then. I mean, this is taking snapshots of a moment in time. Since then we’ve learned we’re not—we’re a lot less safer. We’ve turned Iraq into a petri dish for jihadists and terrorists that didn’t exist in December of ‘03. It’s become a more dangerous place in part, I think, because we failed to understand that the Iraqis were not going to jump to a political conclusion of reconciliation. And, as a result, we’ve become a lure, in a sense, attracting these elements that come into that country and pose additional risks.

MR. RUSSERT: But you voted for the war, you voted for funding for the war. You were against timetables for withdrawal of troops. Then you became a presidential candidate, and suddenly it was about oil and you were against the funding and you were for timetables.

SEN. DODD: No, Tim, that’s...

MR. RUSSERT: Is that political expediency?

SEN. DODD: No, no, no, let’s go back, as I’ve said earlier to you, in September of ‘04, I said I wish we had the vote back, it was a mistake, it was wrong.

MR. RUSSERT: But you kept voting for the funding.

SEN. DODD: Well, did vote for funding along the way because the argument was we were trying to get this—get a decent conclusion to this here. And then a year ago when I was there and came back, drew the conclusion, as many others have along the way here, that this is just not working here. And my view was, at that point and is today, that Congress has one responsibility. If the policy has failed and it’s not working, that we ought to terminate the funding for it here. Clearly the administration doesn’t want to do that, not likely to do it, so it’s up to the Congress to achieve that result.

MR. RUSSERT: And no political expediency?

SEN. DODD: No, none at all, Tim. I think this is a process here you go through as you make decisions what you think is right on this thing here. I—early on, look, from the very beginning, even in October of ‘02, recognized there were maybe better ways of dealing with this. Certainly in March said the same thing. Pointed out the problems with the funding, the lack of oversight, all the way through the process. Made the point that I thought we should have had more troops on the ground going in than we did. Tried four different occasions to get decent body armor with votes on the floor of the United States Senate. There’s been a pattern here of expressing my growing concern about how this has been conducted, along with many others, not exclusively so, and have reached the conclusion at this point that the best way for us to deal with this is to terminate that funding, paid for with a safe redeployment of our forces out of, out of Iraq. That to me—ultimately we’re going to do it, Tim. At some point we will. How many more lives have to be lost, how much more damage to our country do we have to go through before we arrive at that conclusion? Ultimately we will. I think we ought to do it now rather than wait till later.

MR. RUSSERT: After September 11th, the government went to many of the private telecom companies in our country and asked them for information, data. The government said they were legally justified to it. They wanted to see if there was a nexus between international terrorists and some phone calls made back here to the United States. You have been very outspoken about giving those companies immunity from any kind of prosecution, even though they were doing what the government asked them to do. Senator Jay Rockefeller, the ranking Democratic on Senate intelligence, has a view much different from yours. This is what Rockefeller says: “We recognize that private companies who received legal assurances from the highest levels of government should not be dragged through the courts for their help with national security. The onus is on the administration, not the companies, to ensure that the request is on strong legal footing, and if it’s not,” it’s “the administration that should be held accountable.” Why you going after these companies for doing what they thought was in the public interest?

SEN. DODD: Well, because not all of them did. There were companies that didn’t comply with that request. They said, “Give us a court order and we’ll turn over documents.” The court order was never forthcoming here. These companies have very strong, good legal departments here. The idea that companies would turn over thousands, if not millions, of private records, of individuals without a court order is an invasion of that privacy, in my view. There’s a, there’s a way to do this, a legal way to do this. They decided not to do it. They decided they were going to turn over the—these records without any court order whatsoever. That is dangerous in my view. There’s been a consistent pattern by this administration on—to, to, to basically trample on the constitutional rights of people. We’ve seen it from the very beginning here. That’s of great concern to me, Tim. I’m probably spending more time in this campaign talking about that than any other candidate. As I pointed out earlier, when you raise your right hand and take the oath of office, you swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States. And I think we’re being asked a false dichotomy. The dichotomy goes something like this: In order to be safer, we’re going to have to give up some rights. I think that’s a very dangerous proposal here, and too many people are succumbing to it. And I refuse to do so here. If you’re turning over these documents without a court order, Lord only knows what’s in these documents, how much information is there. It seems to me that if you do that, then you have to pay a price for doing so, in my view, so I’m going to vehemently oppose legislation here that would go forward.

The other good parts of this bill, Jay Rockefeller and Kit Bond have done a good job, in my view, with the FISA legislation generally. But the idea you get retroactive immunity to some companies who decided to succumb to the administration’s request. Those that did not, in a sense, have been, I’m told by some, have paid a price financially because they wouldn’t step up to the plate and do what the administration asked them to do. Habeas corpus.

MR. RUSSERT: What price did they pay?

SEN. DODD: Well, economically, there’ve been some talk of Qwest has suffered economically.


SEN. DODD: Well, certain, certain, certain contracts and others that they’ve suffered from. That’s, that’s the reports.

MR. RUSSERT: You mean the government punished them?

SEN. DODD: That’s what we’ve heard, as well.

MR. RUSSERT: Can you prove that?

SEN. DODD: Well, it’s—those are the allegations out there. And again, point out to you, not all companies followed that request. They said, “Look, give us a court order.” That’s a basic requirement in these kind of things.

MR. RUSSERT: There’ve been suggestions that you exploited this issue politically for your presidential run, and, and they point to this. Here’s your Web site. “Restore the Constitution. We did it! You helped us meet our $100,000 goal in 36 hours. Let’s keep it going.” You used it as a fund-raising tool.

SEN. DODD: Well, no, we get people, people stepped up to the plate through the Internet and contributed and were helpful in the campaign.

MR. RUSSERT: But tied specifically to your criticism of that legislation.

SEN. DODD: Well, the, the point is here, look, Tim, this is a serious issue here that requires a serious response, and I believe, going back, the military commission’s active a year ago. I think the only person speaking out as strongly as I have against these actions here, this consistent erosion here that worry me very, very much about what’s happening to our Constitution. But I’ve been asked the question, what’s the first thing I would do on January 20th, 2009, the consistent answer I’ve given is restore the Constitution. I’m very worried about where we’re headed with all of this.

MR. RUSSERT: Let me ask you about another issue that’s been front and center and discussed, but a very different reaction from you, and that’s hedge funds.

SEN. DODD: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: And here it is from your home state paper, Stanford Advocate. “Among Democrats running for president, Connecticut’s” Chris “Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman who has stated his reluctance to hike taxes on hedge fund profits, leads in political contributions from the booming investment sector.
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“The tax code allows hedge fund executives to pay capital gains taxes at 15 percent on a portion of the profits they earn known as ‘carried interest’ instead of paying the personal income tax rate, which can go as high as 35 percent.

“Dodd received $726,950 in donations from hedge fund executives for the first six months of the year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.”

And then this from The Hill, a luncheon that you canceled when it became public. “Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd invited top executives in the equity and fixed-income trading divisions of the nation’s largest banks to have lunch with him in Manhattan in the hope of recruiting bundlers for his presidential campaign.”

You raise money from these guys, and then the legislation which would raise the tax rate to 30 percent, 35 percent, which normal people pay, gets killed.

SEN. DODD: Well, no. As always...

MR. RUSSERT: Old time politics.

SEN. DODD: Hasn’t been killed at all. In fact, I haven’t come out even in favor or opposed. The only thing I said...

MR. RUSSERT: Harry Reid said—the leader of the Senate Democrats said it’s dead.

SEN. DODD: It’s not dead. I don’t think it’s dead at all. And the point being is this. Look, there’re unintended consequences to these actions. As, as chairman of the banking—I’ve been on that committee for 26 years here. The next president of the United States is responsible for a $14 trillion economy. Having some idea of capital formation of the country, having a pro-growth Democrat that cares about these issues: What happens to endowments? What happens to retirement accounts? What happens to pensions? There are issues here that need to be addressed beyond the tax question. And as chairman of that committee, the responsible answer, I think, is, let’s examine this. Dick Shelby, the Republican former chair of that committee, and I’ve sent letters to the Treasury Department, the SEC saying, “Tell us what the implications of all of this are. Are there some downsides to this we ought to consider?” I consider that sort of responsible reaction here. I knew the politics of this thing. Coming out against hedge funds doesn’t require any great leap of understanding. Doing what’s right and responsible on the issue is critical. I’ve been on this committee for a quarter of a century. I know these issues very, very well. No one has fought harder against the credit card industry, no one’s fought harder against the predatory lending and the housing issues, no one’s fought harder against the defrauds that went on in the student loan business. There’s a long history. I’ve also stood up where I thought the financial services sector was doing the right thing. Having someone running for the presidency as a Democrat who understands these issues is not a liability, it’s an asset, I think, when you consider the important fiscal questions...(unintelligible).

MR. RUSSERT: But these are the managers, the managers of the funds. The funds would not be affected, Senator, you know that. These are a handful of people who are making hundreds of millions of dollars, and if the tax rate was increased, the testimony before the Senate was, they’d still be in the business, they’d just pay the taxes.

SEN. DODD: There’s no question about that. But the question is what do you do with that all of a sudden? Where does that shift resource capacity, Tim? It is not—it isn’t a slam dunk answer. There are people who legitimately think there’re problems with changing the tax code on this point. They may ultimately, the point you’re making, be correct. I’m not disagreeing with that.

MR. RUSSERT: So you might support it?

SEN. DODD: Absolutely. My question was a responsible member of the committee, what ought to be the case here is saying what are the implications of this. I recall back years ago with the S and L crisis, people made a similar suggestion, and as a result of what they did, we had a huge problem on our hands. So here I’m merely trying to suggest that we act responsibly.

And again, to make the point here: The next president of the United States has got some huge issues to deal with financially in the country. And having someone running for that job in that office of the presidency who has spent a quarter of a century dealing with these issues, both pro and con, I think is a value and not something to be—and not something to be seen as a liability, if you will.

MR. RUSSERT: Back in May of ‘06, you told the Connecticut Post, “I realize I’m not a household name. That will obviously change. At least I hope it does, or this will be a relatively short campaign.” That was ‘06. Here’s the latest poll from Public Opinion Strategies: Hillary Clinton, 40; Obama, 19; Edwards, 12; Joe Biden, 2.7; Stephen Colbert, 2.3; Bill Richardson, 2.1; Dennis Kucinich, 2.1; Mike Gravel less than 1 percent; Chris Dodd, 0.


MR. RUSSERT: What’s that about?

SEN. DODD: Well, we’ve got a lot of room to grow here, as we, as we say, Tim, in the campaign. I think the campaigns are about expectations, in a sense. We have a very strong campaign in Iowa. We’ve got some 11 or 12 offices open, about 80 people on the ground. People are just beginning to, to, to look at this. This is basically reactions to news stories, to celebrity, how much money you’ve raised in the campaign, and I think people take it very seriously. And any look back on history in Iowa, certainly in the last campaign, John Kerry was way behind Howard Dean, even into December, had a national number that was in the area of 4 percent or 5 percent, less than Reverend Sharpton at the time, and three or four weeks later he ended up being the nominee of the party.

I feel very good about where we are today, and I’ve certainly been around this long enough to know whether or not there’s room to grow, whether or not you’ve got an opportunity to win the nomination. And I believe there’ll be three or four tickets coming out of Iowa before you go to New Hampshire, and I think that’s a very open question. The overwhelming majority of people in Iowa are undecided at this point.

The more important question may be why aren’t these leading candidates, who get all the attention every single day, why aren’t they doing better? And I think it is because people are uneasy about electability and governors, two issues which I bring a lot to. I spent 26 years producing results. I wrote the Family Medical Leave Act, the first child care legislation since World War II, financial services reform, dealing with issues involving body armor for soldiers, the Fire Act, the Safer bill. People want to know the person they’re going to nominate can get elected. I’ve been through eight elections and never lost one. I ran a party nationally. And I’ve brought Democrats and Republicans together. On every single bill I’ve, I’ve authored, I’ve had a Republican co-sponsor, usually a conservative Republican. I think the country wants that kind of leadership again, and I’m very confident, as you point out, with 67 days to go, with people just really looking at this, we’ve got a very good chance to come out of Iowa and win in New Hampshire.

MR. RUSSERT: But having been a senator for 26 years, chairman of the Democratic Party, chairman of the Banking Committee and you’re at zero, it must be frustrating.

SEN. DODD: Well, not frustrating. Look, realized going in this was going to be an uphill climb, facing almost incumbency status in this—in the, in the case of several candidacies here, and, and knew that to be the case. And again, based on history here, we’ve seen rarely has the front-runner in September—August, September, early October, ended up prevailing in the caucuses and primaries. So if history is any teacher at all, then there’s someone here that is in this second tier that’s going to emerge, I think, and, and be a viable candidate come January, February.

MR. RUSSERT: If this doesn’t work out, will you seek re-election in the Senate?

SEN. DODD: I haven’t made that decision yet, and I’m counting on this working out.

MR. RUSSERT: Senator Chris Dodd, we thank you very much for your views. And be safe on the campaign trail.

SEN. DODD: Thank you, Tim, very much.

MR. RUSSERT: And our viewers should know, as part of our Meet the Candidates 2008 series, we’ve invited all the major candidates for president to appear here for an in-depth interview. We’re also archiving the transcripts and videos of the entire series on our Web site, mtp.msnbc.com, so voters can review the candidates’ positions throughout the campaign.

Coming next, the late Gerald R. Ford had some strong opinions about Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill and Hillary Clinton and more. This morning we reveal the contents of “Write It When I’m Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford.” Our political roundtable with Tom DeFrank and William Safire is next, only on MEET THE PRESS.

Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: October, 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; Peace Corps Iran; Directory of Iran RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Iran RPCVs; Connecticut

When this story was posted in November 2007, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Dodd vows to filibuster Surveillance Act Date: October 27 2007 No: 1206 Dodd vows to filibuster Surveillance Act
Senator Chris Dodd vowed to filibuster the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that would grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that helped this administration violate the civil liberties of Americans. "It is time to say: No more. No more trampling on our Constitution. No more excusing those who violate the rule of law. These are fundamental, basic, eternal principles. They have been around, some of them, for as long as the Magna Carta. They are enduring. What they are not is temporary. And what we do not do in a time where our country is at risk is abandon them."

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October 14, 2007: This Month's Top Stories Date: October 14 2007 No: 1203 October 14, 2007: This Month's Top Stories
UN Secretary-General Visits Peace Corps 12 Oct
David Robeck adopted four orphans in Russia 14 Oct
Juan Donald Dontugan remorseful for killing Julia Campbell 12 Oct
PCV John Roberts dies in accident in Vanuatu 12 Oct
Richardson proposes PCVs earn back their college tuition 10 Oct
Bruce Cumings writes: North Korea: neutral instead of nuclear 9 Oct
Volunteerism is dropping significantly 9 Oct
Josh Swiller recalls being deaf in the Peace Corps 8 Oct
Bob Bates gained near-legendary status as mountaineer 7 Oct
New search for Peace Corps Volunteer Walter Poirier III 6 Oct
James Rupert writes: Attacks by Taliban mounting 6 Oct
Peace Corps Returns to Ethiopia 4 Oct
Chris Matthews and “the book interview from hell” 3 Oct
Knox College starts Peace Corps preparatory program 22 Sep
Julia Chang Bloch exhibits African American Art Treasures 19 Sep
Garamendi says students should push for change 17 Sep
NPCA raises $1 million in Microlending program 13 Sep
Dodd says Iraq Has Left Us More Vulnerable 12 Sep
David Whitman's photo exhibition opens Sep 9 in Key Biscayne 8 Sep
Dodd-Feinstein increases Peace Corps funding by $10 million 7 Sep
Kevin Denny writes: Malawi Village uplifts AIDS orphans 3 Sep

What is the greatest threat facing us now?  Date: September 12 2007 No: 1195 What is the greatest threat facing us now?
"People will say it's terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing? I would approach this differently, in almost Marshall-like terms. What are the great opportunities out there - ones that we can take advantage of?" Read more.

Senator Dodd's Peace Corps Hearings Date: July 25 2007 No: 1178 Senator Dodd's Peace Corps Hearings
Read PCOL's executive summary of Senator Chris Dodd's hearings on July 25 on the Peace Corps Volunteer Empowerment Act and why Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter does not believe the bill would contribute to an improved Peace Corps while four other RPCV witnesses do. Highlights of the hearings included Dodd's questioning of Tschetter on political meetings at Peace Corps Headquarters and the Inspector General's testimony on the re-opening of the Walter Poirier III investigation.

Paul Theroux: Peace Corps Writer Date: August 15 2007 No: 1185 Paul Theroux: Peace Corps Writer
Paul Theroux began by writing about the life he knew in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. His first first three novels are set in Africa and two of his later novels recast his Peace Corps tour as fiction. Read about how Theroux involved himself with rebel politicians, was expelled from Malawi, and how the Peace Corps tried to ruin him financially in John Coyne's analysis and appreciation of one of the greatest American writers of his generation (who also happens to be an RPCV).

Ambassador revokes clearance for PC Director Date: June 27 2007 No: 1166 Ambassador revokes clearance for PC Director
A post made on PCOL from volunteers in Tanzania alleges that Ambassador Retzer has acted improperly in revoking the country clearance of Country Director Christine Djondo. A statement from Peace Corps' Press Office says that the Peace Corps strongly disagrees with the ambassador’s decision. On June 8 the White House announced that Retzer is being replaced as Ambassador. Latest: Senator Dodd has placed a hold on Mark Green's nomination to be Ambassador to Tanzania.

Suspect confesses in murder of PCV Date: April 27 2007 No: 1109 Suspect confesses in murder of PCV
Search parties in the Philippines discovered the body of Peace Corps Volunteer Julia Campbell near Barangay Batad, Banaue town on April 17. Director Tschetter expressed his sorrow at learning the news. “Julia was a proud member of the Peace Corps family, and she contributed greatly to the lives of Filipino citizens in Donsol, Sorsogon, where she served,” he said. Latest: Suspect Juan Duntugan admits to killing Campbell. Leave your thoughts and condolences .

He served with honor Date: September 12 2006 No: 983 He served with honor
One year ago, Staff Sgt. Robert J. Paul (RPCV Kenya) carried on an ongoing dialog on this website on the military and the peace corps and his role as a member of a Civil Affairs Team in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have just received a report that Sargeant Paul has been killed by a car bomb in Kabul. Words cannot express our feeling of loss for this tremendous injury to the entire RPCV community. Most of us didn't know him personally but we knew him from his words. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. He was one of ours and he served with honor.

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Story Source: Meet the Press

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


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