Dodd's Hopes End In Iowa
By MARK PAZNIOKAS | Courant Staff Writer
10:37 PM EST, January 3, 2008
DES MOINES, Iowa - Sen. Christopher J. Dodd's
long-shot presidential hopes ended tonight after
finishing sixth place with less than 1 percent of the
vote in the Iowa caucuses.
Dodd intends to formally end his campaign tonight,
then return Saturday to his home in East Haddam,
Conn., campaign sources said. With the top three
candidates capturing nearly 97 percent of the vote,
there was no room tonight for Dodd or any other
candidate in the second tier to become viable.
Dodd, who relocated his wife and two daughters to a
rented house in Des Moines to campaign full-time here,
was expected to arrive momentarily at a downtown
gathering of staff and supporters.
With its emphasis on person-to-person retail politics,
the Iowa caucuses were the first and last chance for
Dodd, 63, to parlay his 26 years in the Senate into an
identity as a viable presidential contender.
He pleaded in recent days for Iowans to give him
enough support to continue, even if they were not
ready to conclude he was their choice for president.
In Iowa City, where he started campaigning here a year
ago, Dodd bounded onto a makeshift stage in a crowded
coffee house this morning for one last campaign rally
before Iowans culled the crowded Democratic
presidential field in more than 1,700 precinct
His voice hoarse after 26 stops in five days, Dodd
called himself the most experienced and accomplished
among the eight Democrats -- only four of whom were
expected to garner enough support to press on in New
"This morning, I make my final appeal in Iowa City to
give me your vote and give me a chance to go on from
this place to Manchester, N.H., to Charleston, S.C.,
to Reno, Nev., and everywhere else across this country
to make a case," Dodd said.
With their long, up-close view of the candidates,
Iowans are positioned to go beyond commercials and
media coverage to judge for themselves which
candidates should go on to a front-loaded calendar of
primaries, beginning Tuesday in New Hampshire.
"This is a big day -- a big day for Iowa, a big day
for our country," Dodd told an audience of more than
300 in Iowa City that was a mix of volunteers,
supporters and last-minute shoppers for a presidential
Harold A. Schaitberger, the president of the
International Association of Fire Fighters, said Dodd
got a late look by many caucus goers, despite being
mired in sixth place in recent polls. The IAFF is
Dodd's key backer.
Dodd won the loudest applause earlier today for his
successful recent filibuster against amnesty for
telecommunication companies that gave the Bush
administration consumer phone records without a court
order. Dodd called the effort an assault on the
"It's infuriating to me," Dodd said. "I want to make
sure during this campaign and the next presidency
we're going to give you back your Constitution."
Referring to the filibuster and the passage of a
half-dozen bills he sponsored as chairman of the banks
committee, Jackie Clegg Dodd told the crowd that her
husband has accomplished more during his campaign than
the top contenders did during their careers.
Tonight's caucuses end the first phase of a
presidential campaign in which the most experienced
elected officials in the field -- Dodd, Sen. Joseph
Biden of Delaware and Gov. Bill Richardson of New
Mexico, a former U.N. ambassador -- have been overcome
by the star power of the leaders.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Sen.
Barack Obama of Illinois have dominated media coverage
with two irresistible story lines.
Clinton, the first lady for eight years, would be the
first woman to win a major party's nomination; Obama,
an obscure state legislator who rocketed to national
prominence with a convention speech four years ago, is
trying to become the nation's first black president.
Challenging them for front-runner status is John
Edwards, the one-term former senator who was the
party's vice presidential nominee in 2004.
Oprah has campaigned for Obama, while Clinton has been
helped by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
"We all know I'm not the best known," Dodd said,
smiling. "I can't bring Oprah or Bill Clinton."
Dodd said his long service on the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee and the relationships he has
developed with world leaders make him ready to lead in
an unsettled time.
He recalled a phone call from Pakistan opposition
leader Benazir Bhutto, seeking Dodd's assistance at
resolving her house arrest, only weeks before her
His audience in Iowa City included the community's new
Congregational minister, Bill Lovin, and his wife,
Robin Thomas-Lovin, who moved here last summer from
Old Saybrook, Conn.
Thomas-Lovin said they have been missionaries touting
the record of their old senator to their new
neighbors. "When they find out about him, people are
just amazed," she said.
Matt Hayek, an Iowa City councilman, said Dodd strikes
him as the steadiest hand in a crisis. "He is the
adult I want in that room," Hayek said.
Nearly 12 hours before the first caucuses, Hayek said
he thought Dodd had a shot at staying alive tonight.
"This is a long shot campaign, but the important thing
in Iowa is beating expectations," Hayek said. "If he
can score a fourth or a third, that would be success."
Dodd's last stop tonight was scheduled to be Hoover
High School in Des Moines, where he intended to greet
caucus-goers in the precinct where he and his wife
have rented a house since October.
If Dodd had finished in the top four, he would have
had to scramble for the resources to continue. He said
he had money to compete in New Hampshire, but he would
have been forced to compete in 20 primaries a month
Dodd had raised a total of $13.6 million and had $3.8
million in available cash at the end of the last
reporting period in October. By comparison, Clinton
entered the last quarter of 2007 with $50 million.
Obama had $36 million and Edwards $12 million.