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Obama VP Vetter Had Kind Words for Dodd

U.S. Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) waves before the opening of the 47th Annual Mexico - U.S. Interparliamentary Group Meeting in the northern city of Monterey June 7, 2008. More than a year ago, the man now running Sen. Barack Obama's vice presidential search effort spoke highly of him. (Reuters)

By Shailagh Murray
It's highly unlikely that James A. Johnson, who is leading Sen. Barack Obama's vice presidential search, will say anything in public about various prospects. But consider these 14-month-old comments about one potential running mate: veteran Sen. Christopher Dodd.

In an interview with Jules Witcover on April 9, 2007 and published by the Center for Public Integrity on its website, Johnson urged the Connecticut lawmaker to find a way to keep his second-tier candidacy alive in the months ahead, despite the enormous financial and organizational advantages enjoyed by Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Dodd dropped out after barely registering in Iowa, but he's considered a decent choice if Obama decides to go the seasoned statesman route.

"Chris Dodd has enormous capacity, intellectually. He has great experience," Johnson told Witcover, as part of the Center's "Buying of the President" election series. "I think he has a good sense of politics, a good sense of the issues. And when the politics of differentiation really kicks in, he is going to have every chance in the world to say, 'Here is why I am better.'"

Johnson also sounded omniscient in remarks about Clinton. "Did you see The [Wall Street] Journal's story this morning?" he asked Witcover. "Big front-page story about how Hillary's hired everybody who has ever done anything in politics, and therefore she is going to be inevitable. And she is getting endorsements. How many times did we go through the pattern where the more endorsements you got, the worse it got?"

And he saw Obama as the potential beneficiary -- although still imperfect as a candidate. "I mean, Barack is a not totally shaped vehicle. But he has said he wants to do a different kind of politics. He is a different generation. He is a different race. He is a different commodity. He is a whole different matter. And the notion that somehow he is losing because the fat-cat politicians like [Hillary Clinton] better? It's only going to hurt her."

Recalling Walter Mondale's presidential campaign, which he chaired, Johnson continued, "I got to the point in '84 where I said, "No more white men on the podium anywhere, anytime, for any reason." We don't ever want to see another white man on the podium. And that's right where they are now."

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 10, 2008; 11:04 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Next: Obama Distances Himself from VP Vetters


Johnson was in on the VP selection for John Kerry as well. Failed to mention that in the post below.

My bad.

Posted by: DirOfTheObv | June 14, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Isn't anyone troubled by the remarks this Johnson guy made that are quoted in the final paragraph?

Sounds like an "Uncle Michael" (Pflager) syndrome to me. If he felt this in 1984, a man so far ahead of his time, which is what I think he is trying to pass himself off as, THEN WHY was John Kerry's VP running mate, a white guy named John Edwards?

Doesn't it sound like in June of 2007, when these quotes were made, Johnson was already trying to engratiate himself to Obama's minyons? Isn't this a line of thought that we've now discovered permeates the people around Mr. Obama.

Jes sayin'.

Posted by: DirOfTheObv | June 14, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I gotta tell you I didn't give Chris Dodd the time of day in the primary season and I can't say I ever even heard him on the stump or in the early debates (I sat them out). So it's only been since he's endorsed Obama and has been appearing on some of the talking head programs as his surrogate that I've come to admire him. I frankly don't know beans about his record but just on gravitas and "chemiatry" I think he'd be someone to look closely at. But as people have said, he probably doesn't help geographically (although CT could be a real swing state) and I don't know whether 2 Senators make sense .... but people should really listen to this guy. He's not gonna take bs from anybody and he'd be a great wingman(or woman). I'm less opposed to Sen. Clinton than in the past, but I continue to worry about enraging the right even more, vetting Pres. Clinton and trying to break 2 glass ceilings at onece. I dunno -- I really don't. But I do know that everything Obama's done on this campaign has been pretty darn smart and I trust his judgment.

Posted by: omyobama | June 11, 2008 2:17 AM | Report abuse

Obama - Bloomberg

Posted by: Dave | June 10, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

dodd quit early hrc quit late. . .so who's left. not richardson, he quit and crossed over. . a judas . . , not edwards, been there done that and dennis, you're kidding or he is, biden, yeah biden would be good except he has a temper something like mccains. . . hillary still looks good to me.

one of the eighteen , almost, who voted for her.

Posted by: artetal | June 10, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Jack Straw, you might check the recent polls. Obama's on the rise. And, according to the McBush campaign today, they have AZ on their list as a swing state. LOL! That's hilarious. They are gonna have to put money and hours into carrying the old guy's home state.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 10, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Barry will have to pick someone to do all the work. You thought Cheney ran the country under Bush. Wait until you see what Barry's VP will do. Either way it doesn't matter. Barry can't win without HRC's supporters. It doesn't look like too many will vote for Barry. Too bad. What goes around comes around.

Posted by: Jack Straw | June 10, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse


What planet are you from? Carolyn Kennedy? All she has is the last name of Kennedy. No political experience whatsoever. I hope Barry picks her. He will be even more of a laughing stock than he already is. Caroline Kennedy? Seek professional help.

Posted by: Jack Straw | June 10, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

must have foreign policy appeal... blue collar appeal...and be a white male...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 10, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I like Chris Dodd, but prefer someone like Donna Brazile, Nancy Pelosi, Carolyn Kenney, also PA Senator..forget his name. Eric from Obama's Team also is a good choice.

I'm certain Obama's pick will be well vetted, and without the baggage the Clinton's would bring. He does have good judgement.

Posted by: canadagirl | June 10, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter who Obama picks, the Republicans have nothing.

McCain = old dude who belongs in a house, just not the White House. Lets put him in an old folks home. If he wants, we'll paint if white for him. :-).

We'll give him a bible to use as toilet paper and maybe then, he'll understand what the so-called "terrorists" at Gitmo are going through (and that's literally only just a piece).

Posted by: Gobama | June 10, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Bags of experience, serves on the same senate committee as Obama, he was an early endorser of Obama back in Feb rather than wait to side where the popular vote went.

He needs someone old with experience. If Obama picks a woman he alienates Hillary supporters, if he picks someone with a military background, McCain will argue that the VP is running the show and makes Obama look weak.

Christopher Dodd gets my pick, the VP should blend into the background, not distract from Obama or offer a threat to challenge at some point in the future.

Posted by: Christopher Dodd | June 10, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

The only reason to pick Dodd, and it is an excellent one, is to watch Lieberman go apoplectic!

Posted by: CT Reader | June 10, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

It needs to be Obama-Richardson... Come on!

Posted by: Sofia | June 10, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Obama-Dodd, Obama-Dodd, Obama-Dodd...

You've got a phonic problem there.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 10, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I like Dodd but he adds nothing to the demographics.

Posted by: Mary | June 10, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Funny, We're actually running a VP poll right now. We predicted that Obama would seize the primary, now you can find out who will be VP! Come vote where you know the results are unbiased.

Run by a Kid.

Posted by: Todd | June 10, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

He's been my choice for some time. Wise, experienced right hand man for Obama. Sounds perfect

Posted by: Anonymous | June 10, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

retired killer, you seem to really have a problem with Obama being half white, the code word being a piece of paper which proves what? That we hold these truth's to be self evident,,,, that ALL men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | June 10, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The logic for Dodd is that he's probably the whitest man who ever lived. But when you get beyond that cynical logic, he's not a horrible choice. Blander than Wheatena, but not a horrible choice, from a gravitas standpoint.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | June 10, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I find it absolutely amazing that you write glowing things about Dodd. When he was forgoing "campaigning b*s" to filibuster for a stop to illegal wiretapping you, a representative of the media, didn't even to bother with a cursorily adequate coverage. But now that you, the media, have gotten your "golden boy" you seek guidance from the same individuals you slammed as "to Washington mainstream" that we needed to dump in favor of change. Some change, the same old school guys running both campaigns, the DNC and the the media spin. Put on your rain suits folks if you believe its rain. Of course who cares that these individuals who are infinitely more qualified were called everything but honest. If I were a prominent Democratic leader I wouldn't touch this guy with a 10 foot pole much less share a ticket with him. Sooner or later you same folks in the media will turn on him and begin to demand answers to the real and imaginary questions such as his birth certificate issue and then the sharks in the media waters will smell blood and the rest is, as they say, history. Does anyone buy into Johnson as a new "hope for change" kinda guy. The most powerful guy in the black congressional community and wants to change what? lol

Posted by: RetCombatVet | June 10, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

there is only one Senator that stood up to the repugs...Senator Leahy

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | June 10, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Look into Tennessee Governer Phil Bredesen. I think he would be a good choice. He has done a lot of good for Tennessee, and he's quite popular here.

Posted by: Shawn | June 10, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse


Are you kidding?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 10, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

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