|By Admin1 (admin) (126.96.36.199) on Sunday, March 22, 2009 - 10:13 am: Edit Post|
Dodd, Facing Opposition, Pushes Back
"His name has been dragged through the mud long enough that his poll numbers have deteriorated to the point where people like Simmons, they're circling," said Kenneth Dautrich, a political analyst at the University of Connecticut. "They smell blood." Mr. Dodd has begun to push back, a welcome change to friends and supporters who have found him oddly passive in recent months. But he said he would not obsess over polls and bad press. "I can't become preoccupied by it," Mr. Dodd said in an interview. "If you let that become the prism through which you do everything, you lose yourself. You've got to be who you are." Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic in the 1960's.
Dodd, Facing Opposition, Pushes Back
Dodd, Facing Opposition, Pushes Back
By MARK PAZNIOKAS
Published: March 19, 2009
ON a 48-hour swing through Connecticut last weekend, Senator Christopher J. Dodd began acting like a candidate for re-election, staging press events and commandeering a Sunday news show.
A newly aggressive Mr. Dodd was reacting to a spate of bad press and poor polling, including a Quinnipiac University survey showing him in a statistical tie with Rob Simmons, a former congressman who announced his candidacy last week.
His delicate political condition brought him to the University of Connecticut Health Center, which obliged his desire for a health care forum by organizing a celebration of President Obama's order lifting federal restrictions on research involving human embryonic stem cells.
"We all could use some good news," Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, the dean of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, told a small assembly gathered in a subterranean lobby.
Especially Mr. Dodd.
The event here was as much about restoring Mr. Dodd's political health as recognizing the stem cell research under way at UConn and Yale. Dr. Laurencin stood at a lectern that bore the sign "Science Saving Lives. Senator Chris Dodd."
With an approval rating of 46 percent, according to the Quinnipiac poll, the Democratic senator is seen as sufficiently vulnerable for Republicans to actually compete for a chance to oppose him next year, the 30th anniversary of his election to the Senate.
Mr. Simmons, a former three-term congressman from Stonington, opened his campaign last Sunday. State Senator Sam S. F. Caligiuri of Waterbury said he expected to follow. Thomas C. Foley of Greenwich, a major Republican fund-raiser who was a development official in Iraq and ambassador to Ireland, was also weighing a run.
"I understand it," Mr. Dodd said. "I'm a big boy."
Mr. Dodd, who turns 65 in May, has suffered a string of setbacks since ending his presidential campaign on the night of the Iowa caucuses.
His role as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee is putting him center stage in the drama over efforts to bail out Wall Street. Last week, Mr. Dodd was being criticized by Republicans and others for his role in the legislation that allowed federal recovery money to be used for bonuses for A.I.G. employees.
His involvement in long-ago real estate dealings are back in the news, as is his relationship with Edward R. Downe Jr., a friend and benefactor who pleaded guilty to fraud charges in an insider trading case in the early 1990s.
President Clinton granted Mr. Downe a pardon in 2001. Mr. Dodd had written a letter to the president supporting the pardon.
Together, it all threatens to hobble his 2010 run like an arthritic knee.
"His name has been dragged through the mud long enough that his poll numbers have deteriorated to the point where people like Simmons, they're circling," said Kenneth Dautrich, a political analyst at the University of Connecticut. "They smell blood."
Mr. Dodd has begun to push back, a welcome change to friends and supporters who have found him oddly passive in recent months. But he said he would not obsess over polls and bad press.
"I can't become preoccupied by it," Mr. Dodd said in an interview. "If you let that become the prism through which you do everything, you lose yourself. You've got to be who you are."
Changing the subject might be difficult. At Trinity College in Hartford on March 13, Mr. Dodd staged a press event to highlight his proposal to protect consumers from predatory credit card companies, but reporters asked him about the polls and Mr. Downe.
Last Sunday, WFSB-TV's "Face the State" aired a 30-minute interview in which Mr. Dodd renewed his pledge to seek re-election and addressed two recent columns by Kevin Rennie of The Hartford Courant about the senator's dealings with Mr. Downe.
After initially declining an interview request, Mr. Dodd had agreed to appear for the entire program, causing the station to postpone an already-taped appearance by Mr. Simmons and Mr. Caligiuri.
Mr. Dodd said he deplored Mr. Downe's wrongdoing, but he did not apologize for sticking by him as a friend. He also defended his financial dealings with Mr. Downe as falling within Senate ethics rules.
Mr. Dodd acknowledged in recent interviews that in the mid-1980s he joined Mr. Downe in buying a condominium that became the senator's Washington residence, and that Mr. Downe introduced him to William B. Kessinger, a Kansas City businessman who helped the senator buy a home in Ireland 10 years later.
Mr. Dodd later bought out both men's interests.
The senator said that he was speaking about the Downe matter now because he does not want to repeat the mistake he believes he made last year in failing to aggressively respond to a story about favorable treatment he and his wife received from Countrywide Financial on two refinanced mortgages in 2003.
"I think he came across pretty well," said Jonathan Pelto, a former state legislator and political director for the Democratic Party. "It was a real important step in shoring up his base of support."
Christopher Healy, the Republican state chairman, said the senator's two purchases of real estate with the assistance of wealthy friends would play poorly with voters.
Some Republicans said privately that they believed Mr. Dodd would eventually yield the Democratic nomination to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who has an 81 percent approval rating. Mr. Simmons would not say if he would rather face Mr. Dodd or Mr. Blumenthal.
"That's really completely out of my control," Mr. Simmons said.
Mr. Caligiuri took a similar position, though he agreed that Republican strategists see Mr. Dodd as the weaker candidate: "That's the conventional wisdom."
Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee welcomed Mr. Simmons to the race by branding him a supporter of George W. Bush, a tactic successfully used against him in his losing House re-election bid in 2006. Mr. Simmons called the effort stale.
"This race is about the future, not the past. This race is about the 21st century, not the 20th century," Mr. Simmons said. "This race is about doing something to stabilize our economy, create jobs and get America back on track again."
Mr. Dodd, who has no wish to spend the next year discussing old real estate deals, can only hope that is the case.
Links to Related Topics (Tags):
Headlines: March, 2009; 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
When this story was posted in March 2009, this was on the front page of PCOL:
Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
PCOL's Candidate for Peace Corps Director
Honduras RPCV Jon Carson, 33, presided over thousands of workers as national field director for the Obama campaign and said the biggest challenge -- and surprise -- was the volume of volunteer help, including more than 15,000 "super volunteers," who were a big part of what made Obama's campaign so successful. PCOL endorses Jon Carson as the man who can revitalize the Peace Corps, bring it into the internet age, and meet Obama's goal of doubling the size of the Peace Corps by 2011.
Director Ron Tschetter: The PCOL Interview
Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter sat down for an in-depth interview to discuss the evacuation from Bolivia, political appointees at Peace Corps headquarters, the five year rule, the Peace Corps Foundation, the internet and the Peace Corps, how the transition is going, and what the prospects are for doubling the size of the Peace Corps by 2011. Read the interview and you are sure to learn something new about the Peace Corps. PCOL previously did an interview with Director Gaddi Vasquez.
Feb 22, 2009: Return to Indonesia?
Clinton says PC expects to resume in Indonesia 18 Feb
Indonesia still touchy about Peace Corps 17 Feb
PCVs Remain Safe in Madagascar 30 Jan
Dodd's Senate seat up for grabs? 21 Feb
Tony Hall Talks About Poverty and Hunger 18 Feb
Pro Football Player Aaron Merz to serve in Zambia 17 Feb
Moyers could be new Murrow for US Public Diplomacy 17 Feb
Obituary for Nigeria CD Francis Underhill Macy 10 Feb
George Packer writes: Parties argue government role 10 Feb
James Rupert writes: Missile Strikes Counterproductive? 10 Feb
Danny Hevrol in Madagascar amidst fighting 6 Feb
Reed Hastings writes: Please Raise My Taxes 6 Feb
Obama overrides Hillary on Chris Hill appointment 6 Feb
Joseph Acaba has "The Right Stuff" 4 Feb
Maureen Orth writes: A New Start 2 Feb
Henry Rayburn could make art out of anything 1 Feb
Obama out to marry military power with diplomacy 30 Jan
Mike Fay honored by the San Diego Zoo 30 Jan
Charles Stroh writes: Karzai seen as impediment to change 29 Jan
Madeleine Meek writes: The market and the bath 26 Jan
NPCA gets new Web Site 22 Jan
Read more stories from January and February 2009.
Some PCVs return to Bolivia on their own
Peace Corps has withdrawn all volunteers from Bolivia because of "growing instability" and the expulsion of US Ambassador Philip Goldberg after Bolivian President Evo Morales accused the American government of inciting violence in the country. This is not the first controversy surrounding Goldberg's tenure as US ambassador to Bolivia. Latest: Some volunteers have returned to Bolivia on their own to complete their projects.
Read the stories and leave your comments.
|By Volunteer (188.8.131.52) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 8:13 am: Edit Post|
I am no republican but this guy has done more damage by being status quo with insurance giants while they ,AIG, put hardworking people out of business. When AIG got there bailed out, they turned to their consumers and demanded payment up front for approximately two quarters of their workmen's compensation payments, the combination of high diesel prices at the time and the above payment to AIG, put my buddy out of business and me out of a job. Thanks to Chris Dodd for not mandating what they should do with a Congressional authorized bail out,he helped people far from my economical status. He helped conservative pigs who sit in offices devising plans to bilk the little guy, while they dine at the fine restaurants, live in exclusive areas and think they are immune to producing class of people.
Number 2 As a former Peace Corps Volunteer, I would like the audience to know that, in the last week another volunteer has been killed. Has Dodd asked questions about whether he was serving alone? As you know, he has aided and abetted the folks in the agency who covered up safety issues by faulty separations. Cut the Ombudsman's office out of a house bill that would have helped former volunteers who went through Safety and Security issues in service during the 1980's to present. The increase in violence against volunteers is something Dodd continues to deny and sweep under the rug. He is afraid at 65 to hear volunteers who served like him, because he like the AIG guy who lives in an exclusive neigborhood, because he is one of them snotty ignorant officials who could care less about the regular guy or girl whose whole family has been devastated by Peace Corps negilect in service.
The Dominican Republic was an easy assignment during the sixties and because of his father, his life has been pretty easy for him too. He did not face terrorist fundamentalists of the world during his service. The Dominican Republic was stabilized by the time he got there. Volunteers who have been victims of violence in service have always deserved better from their colleagues.
He did not do well in New Hampshire because people know he does not fight for the regular guy or girl he fights for the assumption type, the Peace Corps status quo, we did not do anything wrong, who me?
Mark Gearan were the worst offenders of short sighted policies and actions toward volunteers in these safety issues. Chris Dodd personally aided Bellamy in getting her assignment. They were wrong then and wrong now.
Doot the Dodd.