Matt Browner-Hamlin

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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.

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?


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


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.

GOP YouTube Debate: Chris Dodd Wants to Know...

This Wednesday at 8PM Eastern, the Republican Presidential candidates will be holding their own YouTube debate. Similar to the Democratic version in South Carolina in July, the candidates will be asked questions via YouTube videos. YouTube accepted thousands of videos and those submissions will be winnowed down to a handful that are presented as questions for the GOP. Senator Dodd jumped on the opportunity to ask the Republican field a question about the issue that matters most to him: protecting our Constitution.

Here's a transcript of Dodd's question:

Hi I'm Chris Dodd. I'm from East Haddam, Connecticut and my family and I are spending a little time in Iowa these days.

I have a question about the Constitution.

Many Americans are concerned that the administration seems to be making a false choice, that is, to be safer we have to give up rights. I don't believe that, I wonder if you do.

And if you believe that we ought not give up our rights, then what would you do in order to protect our Constitution?

It's up to CNN to pick which questions are asked, but what would help them see it is if you take the time to give it a good recommendation, leave a positive comment, share it with your friends, or add it to your favorite videos. If you have a blog, post it. The time to ask your own questions of the Republican field has expired, now it's time to push the best videos to the top and get the Republican candidates on record about what they will do to protect our Constitution.

Jamison Foser of Media Matters recently documented the lack of discussion of the Constitution and rule of law issues during both parties' presidential debates. With over 1,500 questions asked, there's been almost no focus on the most fundamental issue that the next President will have to deal with. Senator Dodd is hoping to change that by asking the Republican field what they will do to protect the Constitution. I hope they get a chance to answer Dodd's important question.

Cross posted at Daily Kos.

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FISA Mark Up Tomorrow: Call Today!

The Senate Judiciary Committee is going to mark up the FISA reform legislation tomorrow. They had originally scheduled to do it last Thursday, but we expect it to happen this time, though it's not clear that the SJC will complete mark up tomorrow.

The bottom line is that now is the time to call the Senate Judiciary Committee and ask them to oppose retroactive immunity for telecom companies that helped the Bush administration spy on Americans without warrant.

We want the Senate to hear your voice on this issue — we think it's so important that we're paying for you to do the calls. Call today – and the Dodd campaign will do the dialing for you, making it free for anyone calling for a hardline to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Four Senators on the Judiciary Committee have already said they oppose retroactive immunity. We need just six more Senators to oppose retroactive immunity to kill it in committee.

Visit to take action now!

Christy Hardin Smith also brings up basket warrants and Emptywheel brings up minimization as other key issues that the FISA legislation needs improvement on.

Call now and report the results back:

Cross posted at Blue Hampshire, My Left Nutmeg and the Dodd Blog.

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The Very First Hour of the Very First Day

Senator Dodd's speech Saturday night at the Iowa Jefferson Jackson Dinner was truly electric. What really blew me away was his opening remarks on restoring the Constitution and standing up for the rule of law. He dedicated six minutes – a third of his speech – to the issue. While I've heard him talk about why he cares about the Constitution literally hundreds of times, his speech struck a chord in me on Saturday night. Maybe you felt the same energy hearing him rattle off the wrongs he will right as President.

Maybe it's because our country deserves a President who will do the things he pledges to do when he takes the oath of office. Or maybe it's because Chris Dodd is the only person who's stepping up now to do something about the problems he's talking about…but I thought Senator Dodd defined himself on Saturday night as the person that our country needs to be our next President.

Restoring the Constitution isn't just something Yale Law professors and liberal bloggers care about – Americans around the country of all political stripes are longing for leadership committed to returning our government to the rule of law. We saw that clearly Saturday night, as nearly 10,000 Iowans responded to Chris Dodd's commitment to act according to his oath as President. A desire to stand up for and preserve the Constitution is intrinsic in patriotic Americans, and we saw that patriotism come out at the Iowa JJ Dinner.

The bottom line is that when Senator Dodd campaigns on the Constitution, he's not making an argument about himself. The Constitution isn't about him and he's not so foolish as to think so. It's about who we are as a country and how our government is supposed to work. Saturday night, that humble understanding was rewarded with eruptions of applause.

Here's a transcript of what Senator Dodd commits to on the very first hour of his very first day in office:

  “This much I commit to you here in Iowa this evening. On the very first hour, of the very first day on January 20, 2009, as I have fought for over the last number of years in this administration — I will restore to the American people, the Constitution of the United States.”

  “You're gonna get your Constitution back! You're gonna get your Constitution back.”

  “No more Abu Ghraibs!”

  “No more Guantanamos!”

  “No more torture!”

  “No more rendering!”

  “No more providing retroactive immunity for companies that turned over their records to the Bush Administration without a court order!”

  “No more waterboarding!”

  “No more denying people habeas corpus in this country, a right that has existed for 900 years!”

  “And there will be no more Attorney Generals of the United States who believe an American President is above the law.”

  “That's gonna change.”

If you missed it, you can watch the whole speech here.

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FISA Update: A New Week of Calls

The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that California Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein will support retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies. This puts the official tally at two votes in favor and four votes opposed to telecom amnesty. We still need to convince six more Senators on the Judiciary Committee to oppose retroactive immunity to ensure that it is killed in Committee and doesn't reach the floor of the Senate.

This means one of the “nay” votes has to come from a Republican member of Committee, which does not seem incredibly likely. The Republican who we'd previously targeted as most likely to vote the right was was Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Since Specter has also introduced a proposal that would indemnify the telecom companies by making the federal government sole defendant in all of the pending cases against the industry. This proposal – retroactive immunity by another name – makes it look unlikely that Specter will oppose other forms of immunity.

There are two paths from here:

First, we must continue to call all members of the Senate Judiciary who aren't currently opposed and ask them to oppose retroactive immunity. Everyone is not opposed needs to hear from the public on this issue – even conservative Republicans – because the Constitution and rule of law are not partisan issues, nor should they be.

Second, if you're feeling discouraged by the increased chances of amnesty for telecoms making it out of the Judiciary Committee, remember that Senator Dodd has vowed to stop any such legislation from becoming law, either through a hold or by filibuster if necessary. Dodd will stand up for the rule of law. He will defend the Constitution.

Now is the time to take action, though. Chris Dodd won't wait until 2009 to lead and we shouldn't wait until 2009 to stand up for what we believe in.

Call the Senate Judiciary Committee – we'll do the dialing for you through our Citizen Generated Whip Count calling tool:

Dodd Most Progressive on Bankruptcy Reform

eRiposte at The Left Coaster has a very comprehensive analysis of where the various current and former Senator-candidates stood on various pieces of bankruptcy reform legislation. The post covers the 2000, 2002, and 2005 Bankruptcy Bills and compares Senators Dodd, Clinton, Edwards, Obama, and Biden — with Senators Lieberman and Feingold included as well for comparison. The focus of eRiposte's analysis is on the 2001 and 2005 Bankruptcy Bills, which had the majority of this group of senators around to vote on it.

On the 2001 Bankruptcy Bill, eRiposte says this:

Sen. Dodd (and Sen. Feingold) had the best voting record on this version of the Bill. They voted the progressive position on almost every amendment, but more importantly, also voted against cloture (which has the effect of supporting a filibuster) and voted against the Bill at the end.

On the 2005 Bankruptcy Bill, eRiposte finds a similarly strong performance for Dodd ahead of the field:

Senator Dodd again had the best, and an essentially perfect, voting record on this Bill. He voted in favor of numerous progressive amendments, voted against invoking cloture and voted against the final Bill.

In conclusion, eRiposte finds Dodd to be the measuring stick for all other Democratic candidates when it comes to bankruptcy reform:

In this post, I compared the voting records of key Democratic Presidential candidates on the topic of the Bankruptcy Bill. I reviewed the final vote on the Bankruptcy Bill of 2000, and the final vote and amendments/motions associated with the 2001 and 2005 Bankruptcy bills. The main findings are as follows:

1. Senator Chris Dodd has the best, and a near-perfect, voting record on Bankruptcy legislation. He has been consistently and strongly progressive on the topic of Bankruptcy “reform” at least since 2000. [Emphasis in the original in all quoted passages]

Dodd's record is clear and it's also worth noting that earlier this month he committed to reversing the worst parts of the bankruptcy bill. He will be introducing a more comprehensive plan in the coming weeks.

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Dodd's DNA & America's DNA

In Tuesday's FISA live chat at Fire Dog Lake, Senator Dodd talked about how caring about the Constitution is in his DNA:

I feel so strongly about this. It’s part of my DNA, in a sense. Some of you may know, that I grew up in a household where my father was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, here. And, Robert Jackson, the great prosecutor, the great Supreme Court Justice, made the case as others did. That we were going to stand up for the rule of law, even with some of the greatest violators of human rights in recorded history. That we were going to provide a trial for them, that which they never gave to their victims. So I heard all about the rule of law growing up, and how important it is. I didn’t discover this a week ago, or year a go or two years ago. It’s something I believed in very strongly when I served on the House Judiciary Committee…So my history on these matters go back a long way, here. They didn’t come up recently, and I’m urging people to stand up.

If caring about the rule of law is in Senator Dodd's DNA, it's critically important to remember as citizens that the Constitution is our nation's DNA. And this administration's actions against our founding document risks fundamentally altering who we are as a nation.

We have seen strikes made against the Eighth Amendment, which bans cruel and unusual punishment; the Fourth Amendment, which mandates searches be conducted with warrant; and the Fifth Amendment, which demands due process for all persons.

Habeas corpus. Warrantless wiretaps. Torture. Extraordinary rendition. Secret Prisons. The Military Commissions Act.

Now we see the pernicious idea of retroactive immunity or amnesty for telecom companies who helped the Bush administration spy illegally on innocent Americans without warrant. If this dangerous move becomes law, the courts will never be able to discover what the Bush administration asked these companies and on what grounds. We will never learn what was perpetrated against the American people by its own government, in contravention to the laws of our land.

The efforts we have seen to change the DNA of America do not stop with the Bill of Rights, but tragically have extended into dangerous revisionism when it comes to the purview of the legislature and the executive. Article I and Article II of the Constitution.

The system of checks and balances between the three branches of government is being cast out of balance. The Vice President has gone so far as to suggest he's a previously undiscovered fourth branch of government.

Our Constitution — and our nation — may represent a great experiment in the power for representative democracy to make the world a better place. But the erosions and invasions of our Constitution and Bill of Rights — the DNA of our country —  under President Bush threaten to turn America into a modern island of Doctor Moreau. What we get will not be what our Founders intended.

And so while Senator Dodd ties the roots of his passion for the Constitution and rule of law to the household he was raised in and the hard work of his father, we can all find our passion in a need to defend the document that most fundamentally defines who we are as a nation. And with our passion, we can move to act — today — by calling the Senate Judiciary Committee and ask them to oppose retroactive immunity for telecom companies in the latest FISA legislation.


Here's Sen. Dodd's speech from the floor of the Senate today on the Constitution, FISA, and rule of law:

Cross posted at the DoddBlog.

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Markos Moulitsas on Dodd's Inspiring Campaign

DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas is interviewed by Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo on his thoughts on the presidential race. Markos said this of Dodd's principled leadership:

Obama's played it safe. Everyone else is playing it safe. Hillary Clinton has definitely played it safe. So finally, you know, people like me are looking for somebody to be inspired who gives us the kind of rhetoric and policy proposals that actually seem to move the Democratic Party forward. And Chris Dodd on bankruptcy reform, on the war in Iraq, on civil liberties and I mean this is a guy who is essentially running on a platform of restoring the Bill of Rights. How much more inspiring can you get than that? Especially in this climate, with this administration, that has made absolutely clear that their number one mission in life is to eviscerate the Bill of Rights. So you have a candidate that has latched onto a very timely issue, one that is very relevant and actually is of great importance right now — and that's Chris Dodd.

I wish he was a really viable candidate, I wish he was in the top tier, then I could get really excited about him. As it is, I wish the top tier candidates would speak in the way that Chris Dodd does.

We can make Chris Dodd into a top-tier candidate by getting involved and rewarding his leadership. Tell your friends. Make a donation. Volunteer for the campaign. Start a personal fundraising drive. Write to your local paper.

You can make the Dodd campaign a success by getting on board in support of a candidate who is leading on the most pressing issues facing our country today. Your voice in support of Senator Dodd's campaign is what is needed to propel Dodd into the “top tier.” Wishing he polled higher than he does is well and good, but it's action that will carry Dodd to the nomination. If Democratic activists, online and off, sit on their hands while unsatisfied with what the “top tier” provides them, then we won't realize the promise of Dodd's inspiring campaign. We need your help and now is the time for you to join the Dodd Squad.

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Last night's debate brought the issue of residual forces in Iraq to the front and center Democratic presidential campaign. The candidates presented their differing views on whether or not they would have all us troops out of Iraq by the end of their first term in office — 2013 — six years from now.

Sadly, there was little difference between the “top tier” candidates, as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards all said they will not have ended our involvement in Iraq by 2013.

Six years from now.

Blogger Jeffrey Feldman writes:

The top-tier candidates all agreed last night that the Iraq war is only half over–that if elected President, each will continue the U.S. occupation and U.S. combat operations inside Iraq until at 2013.   This means that the official Democratic position is now that the Iraq war will be a ten-year war.

Now, I strongly disagree with Feldman that waiting until 2013 is the “official Democratic position.” It is only the consensus position held by the three front-running candidates.

It is not Chris Dodd's official position. Nor is it the position of millions of Democrats and anti-war activists who are fighting to end the war today.

Dodd made his stance crystal clear in this exchange with moderator Tim Russert:

Tim Russert: I want to put you on the record. Will you pledge as Commander in Chief that you have all troops out of Iraq by January of 2013?

Chris Dodd: I will get that done.

Tim Russert: You'll get it done?

Chris Dodd: Yes, I will, sir.

That's where Dodd is. And yet, the consensus among the Clinton-Obama-Edwards trio, the three largest recipients of time in last night's Democratic debate, was that they would not end the war in Iraq by 2013.

Last night's debate made it abundantly clear that while there exists a consensus among the “top tier” of Democratic presidential that they won't be committed to end the war by 2013, there is an alternative: Chris Dodd. Dodd is the only candidate who's fighting to pass legislation to cut off funding for the war now while committing to get our troops out of Iraq in his first term in office if he can't succeed legislatively before then.

If you want to end the war in Iraq and if you have been a supporter of Barack Obama, John Edwards, or Hillary Clinton, I'd like to take this opportunity to invite you to join the Dodd Squad. You'll have a candidate who stands with you in your desire about ending the war and you will never, ever have to apologize for him pledging to keep US troops in Iraq for six more years.

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Restore Habeas

(One of the most riveting moments at the Harkin Steak Fry this past weekend was when Sen. Chris Dodd called for the restoration of habeas corpus and Democrats enthusiastically responded. This shouldn't be a partisan issue; it is a fundamental American democratic issues. Sen. Harkin has indicated he will be voting in favor of restoring habeas corpus and Sen. Grassley is a maybe. Call his office now at (202) 224-3744 and use this form to track his answer. - promoted by Chris Woods)

This afternoon Senator Pat Leahy and Senator Chris Dodd introduced the Leahy-Specter-Dodd Amendment to the Defense Authorization bill. The amendment will restore habeas corpus and help us regain our moral standing in the world.

Sign up to be a citizen co-sponsor at

Also, follow Senator Dodd's call to action above and call up your Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the Leahy-Specter-Dodd Amendment.

The fight will be hard and the vote, which will come later this week, is likely to be very close. But upholding the rule of law demands action and that's what Senators Dodd and Leahy are calling for.

Sen. President Pro Tem Danielson Endorses Chris Dodd

Chris Dodd & Jeff Danielson
Big news out of Cedar Falls today. Iowa State Senate Pro Tempore Jeff Danielson has endorsed Chris Dodd for President. Danielson is the first member of the Iowa Senate leadership to endorse a presidential candidate.  In addition to the endorsement, he will serve as a Co-Chair of Dodd’s Iowa Steering Committee, and a member of Dodd’s National Steering Committee.

Danielson is a Navy veteran and a fire fighter in Cedar Falls.

“When it comes to protecting this country and strengthening our communities, proven leadership and experience matter,” said Danielson.  “I am supporting Chris Dodd, because he is the candidate I trust to keep America safe and keep our middle class families strong.  Time and time again, Chris Dodd has shown not only that he has thoughtful, bold ideas, but that he has the ability to pull people together to get them done.
“With the stakes so high for our country in this election, Chris Dodd is the proven leader we need in the White House and the proven winner we need as our Democratic nominee.  I am proud to be endorsing Chris Dodd, and I’m ready to go to work across this state on behalf of his campaign.”

Iowa blogger Lynda Waddington has more on the Danielson endorsement and a slew of links to other positive events and coverage for Senator Dodd of late.

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Dodd to Bush: You're "Insulting Our Intelligence"

Later tonight President Bush will address the nation on the subject of Iraq. It will be the eighth time he's done so since the Iraq war started in 2003.

Senator Dodd issued the following statement on Bush's anticipated announcement that the 30,000+ troops deployed to Iraq during the “surge” will be brought home early next summer (as has always been the plan).

“Moving us in 10 months to where we were 10 months ago is not progress. It is the very definition of status quo.

“Not only is the President not offering us anything new; he's insulting our intelligence.

“Despite the fact that his top General is unable to say that the war is making us safer, all the President offers today is quite literally more of the same. More loss of life, more strain on our military readiness, and more degradation of our national security and our standing in the world. It is time for Congress to say 'no more.'

“What was clear to me before, and what should be abundantly clear to my colleagues after today, is that this President is not going to change course unless we force him to. There is only one way to do that – we must set a clear, hard and fast deadline for redeployment and, in order to enforce it, that deadline must be tied to funding.”

Last week BarbinMD asked this on DailyKos:

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Dodd Unveils Cuba Policy in Miami

Senator Dodd will hold a press conference to announce his comprehensive Cuba policy today in Miami, FL at 11 AM Eastern. Dodd, who has led the fight to reform our approach to Cuba to better serve the cause of democracy and American interests, will call for bold, sweeping changes to America's Cuba policy.

I will update this diary with links to the full plan, but for now check out the preview offered by the Miami Herald today:

In a statement given Friday to The Miami Herald, Dodd favors opening a U.S. embassy in Havana, allowing Americans to do business there, and nixing TV Martí, the U.S.-funded broadcast routinely blocked by Cuba.

''I believe the time has come to say publicly what many Americans believe — our Cuba policy has neither served America's interests nor brought democracy to Cuba,'' reads the speech Dodd plans to give in Miami today. “It has only served to strengthen the current regime. It has been an abject failure.''

Chris Dodd has the boldness to open new doors in our relationship with Cuba. This plan is yet another example of Dodd leading with conviction, experience, and clarity of vision.


The video of the press conference is embedded above. Dodd was very strong, fluidly answering questions on his Cuba policy in both English and Spanish.

The full Dodd Cuba policy is now online. Read it here.

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Looking Forward From Gonzales

Attorney General Alberto Gonzaels' resigned earlier. Senator Dodd called for Gonzales' resignation in May, while simultaneously offering a resolution in the Senate urging President Bush to replace Gonzales, and today issued a strong statement on the personnel move.

Hopefully now that Mr. Gonzales no longer occupies a seat in the Bush administration, he'll be more forthcoming about details surrounding the US Attorneys scandal, warrantless surveillance programs, and a host of other Congressional investigations that he has used his office to stymy. As Steve Benen writes, “His resignation does not end the inquiry into the DoJ’s many scandals. Laws may have been broken and lawmakers still want answers. Gonzales’ decision to exit stage right doesn’t change that.”

President Bush must nominate an individual with a record that lacks Mr. Gonzales' penchant for toeing the administration line ahead of his Constitutional duties to uphold the law. That individual must be given a full and comprehensive hearing before the Senate to determine their fitness for the role of Attorney General of the United States. A recess appointment is not an acceptable option. For now it seems that the President is asking US Solicitor Paul Clement to serve as acting Attorney General until a replacement is confirmed on a permanent basis. Looking forward, someone coming from outside the Bush administration is going to be the best course for finding an acceptable replacement with adequate credentials is an independent-minded, accomplished lawyer.

Gonzales' resignation offers the country another opportunity to inspect what has occurred during the Bush administration and what needs to be done to restore the rule of law in America. Senator Dodd has laid down a clear marker on where he stands and what he is looking for in the next Attorney General. Restoring the Constitution and upholding the law, while pushing for reforms within the Department of Justice, will require other senators join Senator Dodd in his call for a “truly independent” replacement. Now is the time for a real, meaningful change following the vision for reform provided by the Senator who's been called “D-Constitution” — Chris Dodd.

Bush is no dissident

Yesterday's Washington Post reports that President George W. Bush considers himself a “dissident”:

“You're not the only dissident,” Bush told Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a leader in the resistance to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. “I too am a dissident in Washington. Bureaucracy in the United States does not help change. It seems that Mubarak succeeded in brainwashing them.”

Quite frankly, this is one of the most astonishing things I've ever heard Bush say, and he's said some truly confounding things during his tenure in the White House.

The last century has seen a great many dissidents fighting for democracy and freedom. Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Mahatma Ghandi in India. The students of Tiananmen Square. Vaclav Havel in Czechoslovakia. Otpor in Serbia.

Each one of these people and groups put their lives on the line for political change when facing oppressive, unjust governments. They were beat, shot at, killed, and imprisoned by their own countrymen and governments. Yet they still fought for change; some won, some continue to fight.

Nothing, I repeat, nothing, in the opposition President Bush has had to face to accomplish his agenda stands in the same category as what these heroic dissidents faced. The only thing President Bush has in common with a political dissident is that both words end with “dent.”

Bush has faced opposition because he's presented policies that are out of touch with the desires of the American people and the legislators that represent them. He's divided the country through the war in Iraq and the dangerous roll-back of constitutional rights.

Chris Dodd would never be confused for a dissident as President. He has the experience of bringing people of both parties together to get legislation passed. He did it with the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Genocide Conventions, helped bring peace to Latin America, the first child care legislation and countless other pieces of critically important legislation. A Dodd administration will bring the leaders of both parties together in January 2009, make its priorities clear, and work with people to get the job done. If obstacles ever come up, you can count on Chris Dodd to not become a martyr who casts himself in the vein as people he has no business comparing himself to. That's because Dodd is an honest, experienced leader who has a global understanding of politics and the meaning of words. Two things that I believe our country sorely needs.

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Big Tent Democrat on Dodd's Leadership

MyDD has started a new series where supporters of the different Democratic presidential candidates are given limited front-page blogging privileges to talk about their candidate. Big Tent Democrat of TalkLeft (aka Armando of DailyKos) was tapped to post on MyDD's front page about Senator Dodd on every Thursday.

BTD's first post is now live. It's titled, “How Chris Dodd Won My Support: By Leading On the Issues Now“. He leads off with a story that's actually relatively similar to my own — of not really looking for a candidate to support, but being won over by Dodd's bold leadership on issues right now.

I never expected to be supporting any of our fine candidates for President at this point, much less Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT). I was not shopping for candidates. Indeed, I insisted (insist?) that the Netroots has spent 2007 too focused on the 2008 horserace instead of being focused on the pressing issues of today, especially the Iraq issue.

But that actually explains how Chris Dodd won my support. Chris Dodd is leading on the issues of today as well as discussing his vision for the issues of tomorrow. Take Iraq for instance. While Dodd thoroughly explains his views on what he will do about Iraq as President, he has spent just as much time explaining and stressing the critical importance of Democrats doing all they can now to end the Iraq Debacle. This is not an issue that can wait 18 months. Thus Dodd argues that we must:

End the War in Iraq Decisively. Chris Dodd understands that ending the war in Iraq makes America safer. He strongly supports the Feingold-Reid proposal – the only responsible measure in Congress that sets a timetable to end the war in Iraq by March 31, 2008 – and he has urged all the candidates in the presidential race to join him. It is time to stand up to the President's misguided Iraq policy.

(Emphasis supplied.) More than anything else, this position won my support. Instead of introducing a “Dodd plan” for getting us out of Iraq, to buttress a stump speech, Chris Dodd put the issue first, he put the nation first, and he argued for what Democrats (and any Republicans with wisdom and courage) should be doing NOW, not in January 2009, to end the Iraq Debacle. With this one act, Chris Dodd demonstrated the type of leadership, political courage, selflessness and wisdom that we need from our future President.

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Dodd Education Speech to the NEA in Bartlett, NH

(Chris Dodd is a candidate who deserves more attention in Iowa. To help him in that endeavor, check out Matt's post below highlighting the higher education part of Sen. Dodd's education policy announcement yesterday. Part of his plan calls for providing free community college education to every American. - promoted by Chris Woods)

Earlier this morning Senator Chris Dodd unveiled his K-12 Education Policy in a speech to the New Hampshire NEA in Bartlett, NH. The Dodd plan will:

  • Provide for universal preschool
  • Reform No Child Left Behind
  • Ensure that there are quality, experienced teachers in every school
  • Put in place world-class, but flexible, academic standards
  • Create incentives to extend school learning opportunities by lengthening the school day and spend more time on academics
  • Modernize schools and reduce class sizes
  • Make sure that every 9th grade student in America has a plan to graduate and is on track for college
  • Increase opportunities for virtual learning and online curriculae

Those are the broad strokes, but you can learn more about the details of the Dodd education plan on

Here's the speech:

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Health Care for All: The Dodd Plan

Today Senator Dodd unveiled his plan for universal, affordable health care coverage at a kitchen table conversation in Marion, Iowa.  

“The failed leadership and misplaced priorities of the last six years have put the health of our middle class at risk,” said Dodd. “In order to address the health of America's middle class, we have to address soaring health care costs. That is why I am proposing a health care plan that provides for affordable, universal coverage.”

“By establishing the Universal HealthMart, individuals would be guaranteed affordable health care coverage,” said Dodd. “America deserves a health care system that provides universal, affordable coverage through universal responsibility shared by employers, individuals, insurance companies and the government.”

The Dodd Plan will:

* Ensures all Americans will have quality, affordable health coverage during Chris Dodd's first term.

* The Dodd plan will create a health insurance marketplace called Universal HealthMart that is based on, and parallel to, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP).

* Individuals and businesses will contribute to Universal HealthMart based on their ability to pay.

* Premiums will be affordable based on leveraged negotiating power, spreading risk, reduced administrative costs, and incentives for technology and preventive care.

* Coverage will be portable — insurance purchased in Universal HealthMart will follow individuals.

You can read the full Dod health care plan here.

We've also created a page that compares the Dodd plan to that of other Democratic presidential candidates. You can see how the Dodd plan stacks up to the Obama, Edwards, Richardson, and Clinton plans here.

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Dodd answers top-rated YouTube questions...

As promised, here are Senator Dodd's answers to the top rated YouTube user submitted questions. Senator Dodd answered these four questions because they were the favorites listed by Community Counts, a site that's allowed visitors to vote on which questions the Presidential candidates should be asked.

Without further ado, Dodd's answers to the top four YouTube user-submitted questions:

Re: Impeachment of GW Bush;Necessary to thwart future abuses?

Re: What about the *non* religious voters?

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More "representative" comments from DailyKos

Yesterday, the Dodd campaign responded to a request by Fox News' personality Bill O'Reilly to comment on a selection of cherry picked and non-representative comments from the popular liberal blog DailyKos. In a diary on Kos, Tim Tagaris wrote, “Senator Dodd is a proud member of the Daily Kos community, most notably engaging this community in a live video give-and-take prior to the New Hampshire debate.  He is also an enthusiastic confirmed participant for Yearly Kos.”

O'Reilly attempted to smear DailyKos by contending that the most extreme statements found amidst millions of comments (attributed to no specific people) were representative of the whole community. As Hari Sevugan, Dodd campaign Communications Director, said yesterday, “to selectively choose the handful of the most extreme comments from the millions of voices in the conversation and fashion that as representative of a whole community is patently unfair.”

Today, I'd like to offer up some representative comments from the DailyKos community, all of which appear on the diary Tagaris posted yesterday afternoon. I'll even tell you who wrote each comment.

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Ottumwa & Technology

The video above was shot at a meeting at the Canteen Lunch in the Alley, a diner whose specialty is a “loose meat” sandwich and a scrumptious assortment of pies, in Ottumwa, Iowa. Senator Dodd talked with people there for about an hour, answering questions on military spending, health care, the war in Iraq, and transparency in government. In the clip above he talks about President Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libby and how this administration’s actions have damaged the rule of law. You can watch the whole talk in the Canteen Lunch on

Allow me to geek out for a moment…

The live feed from Ottumwa was broadcast on a wee little mobile broadband card. I was only getting one bar of service in the Canteen, in part because though the restaurant has been around since 1936 and is a historic landmark, a number of years back a parking garage was constructed around (and above) it and now it’s effectively a couple stories underground. Nonetheless, we were able to stream live and allow people from all over the country to see a conversation between Senator Dodd and Iowa caucus goers over lunch. We were able to leverage technologies to make an offline campaign stop become an online event for anyone to watch (first live, now recorded).

What’s even more cool is that I’ve now cut and uploaded the video above to YouTube while riding in the River to River Tour bus from Ottumwa towards Des Moines. And now I’m about to hit publish on a blog post telling you all about it.

This is one of those moments where what we’re able to do with new media technologies to make this presidential campaign fully transparent catches up with me and I just have to say: Wow.

See it all on D-TV

My Thoughts on National Service

In my travels with Senator Dodd I've heard him talk about his time in the Peace Corps a lot. Around kitchen tables and in back yards of New Hampshire and Iowa, Senator Dodd tells people why he joined the Peace Corps: because an American President asked.

John F. Kennedy reached out to a generation of Americans and a generation answered his call. They joined the Peace Corps. They joined VISTA, the Department of Justice, worked for civil rights, and served in the military. They were united in purpose of making America a better place and raising our standing in the world to reflect the dignity that our nation held.

Despite hearing Senator Dodd talk about the source of his impetus for entry into the Peace Corps many times, the story has always sounded foreign to me. As a twenty-five year old Gen Yer (or am I a “Millennial”?) I can say with certainty that the same culture that JFK set when he famously uttered the words “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” does not currently exist in American political sentiment, at least not in the scale as forty-six years ago. The idea of Americans being asked by our President to serve our country — not just shop —  by standing up and contributing time and energy to making this country and our world a better place simply is absent from the political culture that I have grown up in.

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Take Back America: Bloggers on Dodd

I spent the last two days at Take Back America 2007, a conference of Democratic and progressive political organizers and activists. While spending time on Bloggers' Boulevard I talked to a number of netroots dignitaries about what they liked about Senator Dodd and how his leadership on key issues is distinguishing him from the field. Below are the response of Bob Geiger,  Matt Stoller, Phillip Anderson (The Albany Project), Siun (firedoglake), and Lane Hudson (Huffington Post). Enjoy!

Bob Geiger on resoring the Constitution and ending the Iraq War.

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Two New Ads

The Dodd campaign has put two new ads on the air in Iowa and New Hampshire. The ads are titled “Amazing Grace” and “Split.”

“Amazing Grace”


Restoring the Constitution

One of the largest reasons I joined the Dodd campaign and why I think Chris Dodd is the best candidate for the presidency is his leadership on restoring the Constitution and protecting the right of habeas corpus for all Americans. He fundamentally understands that our moral authority is tied into our ability to lead and our security.

Habeas corpus is an unfortunately isn't an issue that's talked about a lot in American politics. It is a right enshrined in the US Constitution to ensure that when the government detains a person, that person must be brought before a court and be tried or released. Habeas corpus is a hallmark of what protects our republic from the creep of tyranny. The right of habeas corpus was gutted by the Military Commissions Act of 2006, a law whose bland name belies its pernicious character.  A New York Times editorial in September, 2006 documented the extent of the MCA's reach beyond habeas and into our relationship with the Geneva Convention, how we treat enemy combatants, how our courts weigh secret and coerced evidence, how the MCA limits review by our independent judiciary, and a definition of torture that is so narrow as to exclude rape from being included.

At some point, hopefully quite soon, the Iraq War will be over. Patriotic, courageous leaders will bind up our nation's wounds and we, as a nation, will move on as best we can. Hopefully we will be able to remember the mistakes that surrounded the Bush administration's policies before and during the Iraq War. But we will remain Americans and we will work together to restore our standing in the world.

But habeas corpus and the rights enshrined in our Constitution that depend on it to have meaning are a part of our national DNA. And unless it is restored soon, we risk fundamentally altering who we are as a people and what we stand for in the world.

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Dodd to participate in Spanish language debate

Senator Dodd has accepted an invitation from Univision Communications to participate in the first-ever Spanish language Presidential debate. It is scheduled to take place in Miami, FL on September 9th.

Here's Senator Dodd's statement on the debate:

We have an historic opportunity and a central obligation to address the ever-growing Latino community this election. The next President needs to be someone who can speak to this important segment of our population, and those within our same Hemisphere, on issues from immigration to education to foreign affairs. This debate represents an excellent opportunity to do so.

Senator Dodd, who is fluent in Spanish, served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic.

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Iowa and New Hampshire in One Day

Senator Dodd traveled back and forth across America today to speak, first, at the New Hampshire Democratic Party's Mid-Term Convention, followed later yesterday evening by a rousing speech at the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame dinner.

Here's Senator Dodd's speech in Concord, New Hampshire:

And here's Senator Dodd's speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa:

Nothing Courageous About Doing What's Right

I wanted to pull out and highlight this clip from Senator Dodd speaking in Portsmouth, NH. In this segment, he talks about last week's Iraq supplemental vote and the need for leadership that will do what is right.

My transcription:

People have been very generous throughout today and yesterday in expressing their gratitude for being one of fourteen votes that was cast on Thursday on this issue, saying it was courageous for you to do what you did. To be candid, there was nothing courageous about it. To me, that was the right thing to do — what's courageous about doing what's right?

What's right is redeploying our troops out of Iraq and getting out of that civil war. That's what we ought to be doing here.

I'm determined to stick with this. We'll be back at this issue very quickly. We have a defense authorization bill, a defense appropriations bill, this supplemental will run out around the middle of September, first of October, so we'll be back at this issue very quickly.

And I'd be less than honest if I didn't tell you I was disappointed that more people either didn't make a decision early enough or be clear enough about it or that not enough people ultimately did what I think was the only right thing to do here.

And it's not only about how wrong this is as a policy, but I frame it in the context of our national security. No one is going to be elected president of the United States in 2008 if they don't make the country feel conscious about the security of our country. And what the policy in Iraq is doing, among other things, is making us far less secure. We're far more vulnerable, we're far more isolated, we're far less secure today as a result of this policy. And every hour that the policy goes on we're in greater and greater and greater danger. So this is about the national security of our nation in my view — and the wrong decision to get us involved and sustain a policy that is isolating us and reducing our moral leadership in the world.

So I'm going to stick with this – I want you to know that. I've got a bad habit about being dogged about things that I care about. On this one, I'm not moving. I want a policy that's going to end up some time this summer or this fall that says we're going to time-certain, we're going to be moving our military out of that civil conflict.

And then we're going to start using a robust diplomacy and politics and economics, engage and talk to the Iranians, deal with the Syrians, start doing what a great nation ought to be doing. And that is acting like a nation that understands how important diplomacy and politics can be to advance good interests and good causes.

I think that's what America wants. It's the kind of leadership we ought to have in the 21st century. And as your president, I'll do it – you have my word on that.

You can view the entirety of Senator Dodd's talk in Portsmouth here.

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Sen. Dodd talks about Memorial Day & thanks the troops

Senator Dodd speaks about honoring the troops on Memorial Day and all other days.

My Transcription:

But before starting that, this is Memorial Day weekend and I have some very strong views on Iraq, as Mark very graciously referred to. But one thing that I think all of us need to say on a day like this – and we ought to do it every day – is these young men and women who are serving our country, regardless of our views on Iraq, these are remarkable young people doing a very, very difficult job. How about a little round of applause for the kids serving all over, they do a great job.

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Dodd Statement on the Future of Iraq Debate

Here is Senator Dodd's statement on the future of the Iraq debate. It comes in response to last night's passage of an Iraq supplemental bill that did not include a timetable for responsibly redeploying our troops from Iraq.

Chris Dodd: “I'm not going to stop and I want you to know that.”

I proudly work for Senator Chris Dodd's presidential campaign.
–Matt Browner-Hamlin

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New Dodd Ad: "Ready to Lead"

Today the Dodd campaign launched our second ad. “Ready to Lead” is now on the air in Iowa, New Hampshire, and on national cable stations.

Senator Chris Dodd is ready to lead. Through his leadership, we are moving the conversation from half-measures to bold solutions on our most pressing challenges: ending the Iraq War responsibly, stopping global warming and ending our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. On energy, he is proposing the boldest plan of all presidential candidates, which includes a Corporate Carbon Tax and 50 mpg fuel economy standards.

Senator Dodd is receiving wide praise for his leadership on these critical issues.

John Nichols of The Nation recently wrote:

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Dodd: Live Broadcast of Iowa Forum on Iraq TODAY!

Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd is in Des Moines today to hold in a statewide discussion on how to end the war in Iraq and strengthen America. The forum will take place on Friday at 12PM CST at Drake University. It will also be broadcast via live web video to a gathering in Iowa City, as well as having smaller kitchen-table style groups that are listening to the forum in Decatur City, Sioux City, Charles City, and Burlington. The same web video feed that Iowans in Iowa City will used to see the forum will also be transmitted live around the web via embedded video players. Get more information at

Watch below from noon to 1PM. While you wait for the broadcast to start, read Lynda Waddington's article on the Dodd campaign's use of UStream.



Dodd In Dubuque, Des Moines Next 2 Days

Hey Gang,

I wanted to give you another heads up that Senator Chris Dodd is going to be in Iowa tonight and all day tomorrow. I highly recommend anyone in the Des Moines area try to attend the Senator's Statewide Discussion on How to End the War in Iraq and Strengthen America, which will be taking pace at Drake University on Friday at noon.

Check out the Senator's full schedule for Iowa:

I'll be in Iowa with Senator Dodd, so if anyone wants to meet up, please email me: mbrowner-hamlin[at]chrisdodd[dot]com

I'd be available to meet this afternoon in Dubuque and tomorrow afternoon in Des Moines.

Hope to see you there! 

Dodd Staff: Live Video Chat on "Feingold-Reid-Dodd"

Later this morning the Senate will vote to overcome a Republican filibuster that is preventing the Feingold-Reid-Dodd amendment from being considered as an addition to the Water Resources Development Act reauthorization.

To discuss the importance of the amendment and what it means for American security, as well as why Senator Dodd has taken a firm position on ending the war through Feingold-Reid-Dodd, we're holding a live web chat via Chris Dodd for President Policy Director Amos Hochstein and Deputy Communications Director Hari Sevugan will answer your questions about where Dodd stands and what is happening today in the Senate.

You can ask your questions here in the comment thread. We'll do our best to respond in real time on UStream.

The web chat will start at 10 AM EST and is scheduled for thirty minutes.

Dodd's 1st Ad: "Half Measures Won't Stop This President"

Hey there Bleeding Heartland,

My name is Matt Browner-Hamlin and I’ve just joined the Dodd campaign’s internet team as a traveling blogger and netroots outreach guy. I’m going to be spending a lot of time in Iowa with Senator Dodd – including a trip late this week. I’m  looking forward to traveling around the Hawkeye State and getting to know the Democratic activists who are going to shape the outcome of the caucus.  I want to be sure that members of the Bleeding Heartland community know what’s going on with Senator Dodd’s campaign and that I am available to you if you have questions. If you’re able to attend any of Senator Dodd’s events this week, I’d love to meet you in person for a bite to eat or a coffee — just give me a shout [email].

Now, on to the important stuff.

Check out Senator Dodd’s first TV commercial of the 2008 election. The ad is up in Iowa, New Hampshire, and on national cable.

Here’s the transcript of the ad:

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