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Dodd's Hopes End In Iowa

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hcu-doddiowa-update-0103,0,5039629.story?coll=hc_tab01_layout Dodd s Hopes End In Iowa By MARK PAZNIOKAS | Courant Staff
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2008

      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.
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