Matt Browner-Hamlin

Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain

Iowa's state flag reads “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.”

What a fitting motto for the state that tonight will serve as the proving ground for the Democratic field.

In little over a year, a new President will be sworn into the Oval Office. That person will be tasked with many jobs from Day One, but perhaps none is more important than the restoration of our Constitution following eight years of abuse at the hands of the Bush administration.

While Iowans spend the last three hours or so before the caucus pondering which candidate they will stand with, I hope they take the time to look at their state flag. Re-read their state motto. Then make their decision.

Only one candidate has made standing up for the Constitution central to his campaign.

Only one candidate authored a book this year about our nation's proudest moment standing up for the rule of law.

Only one candidate left the campaign trail to return to Washington and stop another assault on our rights.

Only one candidate has pledged that on the very first hour of the very first day, he will restore the Constitution of the United States of America.

Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.

Iowans, the time is now: Caucus for Chris Dodd, because he, above all others, will use his presidency to not just maintain our rights, but restore and protect them. We know he will do that in 2009, because he's already doing it now, in 2007 and 2008.

So stand by your state's motto and please stand for Chris Dodd tonight.

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DMR Profile Piece on Dodd

A day before the Iowa caucus, the Des Moines Register is running a long profile piece on Senator Dodd. The article goes into great detail on his record of bringing people together to get results and be a force for positive, progressive change over his twenty-six year career in the Senate.

Here's a clip from the article:

Chris Dodd says voters want more than a symbol of change – they want real change.

Dodd, a U.S. senator from Connecticut, has relied on his experience as he has pursued a longshot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

He often points to changes he has made in the American policy landscape, including writing the Family and Medical Leave Act and helping reform election laws.

He was one of the authors of the Help America Vote Act, which his staff said was the first major step the country took toward reforming election law after the controversial 2000 election in Florida.

That act provided grant money to states to upgrade their election systems and put provisions in place to make polling more accessible for the disabled.

“I'm a great advocate of change, and on the cutting edge of it,” Dodd said.

The Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers to grant eligible employees a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave for reasons such as the birth of a child or to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition.

Dodd calls the legislation the “most significant health care reform since Medicare reform” and as president, said he wants to expand the coverage to include paid leave.

Dodd's policy vision is also punctuated by his often-stated concern to preserve the Constitution, a copy of which he carries in his pocket every day.

It's always interesting to see which pieces of legislation or achievements reporters choose to highlight from Chris Dodd's record. Frankly, with a leader who's gotten as much done as Dodd has throughout his career, the task his daunting. Just ask Mike Caulfield about how many hours it took for him to whittle down the scores of stories he researched while writing his endorsement post.

In the article Dodd also talks about the virtue of public service as a calling for those who want to help as many people as they can.

“He said there's no other calling in life where you can do as much for as many people as you can through public service,” Dodd said at the debate. “Lawyers only have so many clients, doctors only so many patients, but a well-intentioned public servant can make a difference in the lives of millions of people. That's my motivation. I want to carry that tradition on. That's why I'm running for president.”

I can't think of a more admirable reason for a person to seek the presidency than this – it's one of the reasons I'm proud to be working for Chris Dodd.

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Reading Material in Dodd HQ

Reading Material

I took this picture inside our phone banking room in the Des Moines HQ. Amidst copies of the Des Moines Register, call logs, talking points, fact sheets of Chris Dodd's record of results and lots of empty coffee cups, I saw a print out of Blue Hampshire co-founder Mike Caulfield's endorsement post.

People often ask what the value of blogger endorsements is and I think this is evidence of it. Mike's argument in support of Chris Dodd, like that made by many other bloggers, is a thoughtful presentation of why Democrats should support Dodd's candidacy. It's exactly the sort of thing that volunteers and field staff find useful when talking to voters here in Iowa. Beyond that, it's great to have the encouragement of someone writing outside the campaign to pick you up in the midst of a long phone banking session.

Today, I'm heading on the road to cover Senator Dodd's events in Waterloo at one of my favorite restaurants in all of Iowa, Steamboat Gardens. From there, I'll head with the Senator to Dubuque for our campaign's New Year's Eve event.

I'll be staying on the road on New Year's Day to cover events in Cedar Rapids and a few other stops. I'll be posting videos and pictures from the road, as well as writing about the events as the Dodd campaign heads into the new year and towards the Iowa caucus on January 3rd.

Stay tuned for more updates from Iowa on the Dodd Blog.

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On the Ground in Iowa

On January 3rd Iowans will be making a critical choice on behalf of the nation. The people here helping Chris Dodd are taking part in history here over the closing days before the caucus. I'm going to try to tell that story over the next week and give you a window into the Dodd campaign. Throughout our campaign I've covered hundreds of Dodd events. For the most part, I've eschewed writing the typical campaign blog posts cheering on how great the events are or how positive the crowds response is, because frankly, I think it's better to let the video from Dodd events do the talking for me. Now, though, I want to use my time in Iowa to show as much as I can what's happening on the ground.

After a hectic day of travel filled with missed and delayed flights, I arrived in Iowa last night to a bustling Dodd Headquarters in Des Moines. “Bustling” is a word you'll hear bandied about a lot when campaigns talk about the activity in their offices around Iowa this week, but to be honest it hardly covers what's going on. The winding halls of Dodd HQ were filled with staffers and volunteers fulfilling a range of tasks – planning the events between now and the caucus, calling Iowans to ask them to support Senator Dodd, honing the closing argument for Chris Dodd, keeping our web presence dynamic, and much, much more.

They love Dodd at Lucky's

Last night Senator Dodd was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. A bunch of staffers watched his appearance at Lucky's, the bar next door to the office. We weren't the only ones, though — there was a buzz from people responding to Senator Dodd's mature leadership talking about the Benazir Bhutto's assassination. The next President is going to encounter issues that we haven't talked about in this campaign, and the question Iowans are going to be asking themselves “who do they trust to know what they are doing when that happens?”

This morning we awoke to snow in Des Moines. A few inches fell overnight and it's continuing to come down steadily. Fortunately for me, Erik Moe, our art director, is a Minnesotan with a lifetime of experience driving in the snow and muck, and he ensured the trip to the office this morning was a safe one.

Dodd and Browner-Hamlin talk FISA

First off the bat, we recorded two videos with Senator Dodd (which you'll be seeing shortly). Tim Tagaris took   this picture of Senator Dodd and I talking about the response online to his efforts to stop retroactive immunity from being part of FISA legislation. The Senator was humbled by the scale of support he received from the netroots in this fight and is committed to continuing it when the Senate returns in January. This is a team effort and together we can win this fight for good.

As I write this post now, people are working hard to prepare for a rally that will be taking place at our HQ in just a few minutes. We'll be posting pictures and video from at just as soon as we can, so you'll be able to see what the mobilization for Chris Dodd in Iowa looks like even if you can't be here to take part.

Stay tuned for more updates at The Dodd Blog.

Disclosure: I proudly work for Chris Dodd's presidential campaign.

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Dodd on Executive Powers

The Boston Globe has an article by Charlie Savage – the journalist whose investigation first brought President Bush's use of signing statements to light – about the various positions by Democratic and Republican candidates on executive powers. Here are a few of the most direct answers to critically important questions that the tenure of the Bush administration has raised to date.

4. Under what circumstances, if any, would you sign a bill into law but also issue a signing statement reserving a constitutional right to bypass the law?

Never. If I thought it was unconstitutional, I would turn to the Courts, which is what our founding fathers expected and provided for in cases of Executive-Congressional differences.

5. Does the Constitution permit a president to detain US citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants?

No.

6. Does executive privilege cover testimony or documents about decision-making within the executive branch not involving confidential advice communicated to the president himself?

No.

What's remarkable, I think, is that Senator Dodd's dedication to upholding the Constitution and the balance of powers requires this sort of answer to these sorts of questions, though you won't see the GOP candidates or top Republican talking heads giving the same consideration to these issues. Standing up for the rule of law makes us more safe at home. We need a President who will stand up for these issues, even if it means rolling back some of the powers and practices used by the Bush administration in contravention to the Constitution and at the expense of the balance of powers between the executive, legislative, and judiciary branch.

You can read Senator Dodd's full response to the Globe's questionnaire here.

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DMR Debate Talk Clock & View into Dodd HQ

Today's Des Moines Register Democratic Presidential debate, as usual, will be clocked by the Dodd campaign. Here's the famed Talk Clock:

You can get the embed code to put the Talk Clock on your blog here.

Live from Dodd HQ (warning: no sound):

This is a view inside the Internet office – where the clocking takes place, as well as our other Dodd-related interactions in Teh Tubez.

 We're looking forward to this debate and once again expect Chris Dodd to stand out as the best candidate for the Presidency.

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