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Dodd Joins Growing List of Dem. Senators Eyeing '08 Bid

Staying with today's 2008 theme, The Fix can report that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) has made a handful of hires in the political and fundraising departments as he gears up for a possible potential presidential bid in 2008.

Christopher Dodd
Sen. Dodd speaks during a July 9 appearance on CBS's Face the Nation. (AP Photo/CBS Face the Nation, Karin Cooper)

On the political side, Dodd has hired Maura Keefe as a senior adviser; she will be charged with building operations for the candidate in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Keefe is a New Hampshire native and a longtime political operative, having served as a senior adviser to former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign and chief of staff to Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro. Keefe is also the sister of former New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Joe Keefe.

Recognizing the need to significantly bolster his fundraising between now and year's end, Dodd has hired three people to broaden his financial reach: Stephanie Berger, Rachel Hirschberg and Tracy Buckman. Berger handled fundraising in the eastern United States for John Kerry in 2004; Hirschberg handled mid-Atlantic fundraising for Wesley Clark in 2004. Buckman is a past finance director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. (Here's the entry on Dodd's CHRIS PAC.)

Seeking to capitalize on the growth and influence of blogging and podcasting, Tim Cullen will serve as the director of media technologies for Dodd's campaign -- a job he held at Dodd's Senate office until recently. Prior to working for Dodd, Cullen was involved in a variety of tech start-ups.

Dodd has also recruited Paul Orzulak to handle speech-writing duties. Orzulak has a long history in the field, having done work for Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin during his 1992 presidential bid, former Minority Whip David Bonior (D-Mich.) and, most importantly, Vice President Al Gore and President Bill Clinton.

These moves by Dodd signal an understanding among his campaign inner circle that he must quickly show he can build a financial and staff infrastructure to compete with better-known and better-organized Democrats. And in making them, he becomes the 6th Democratic senator to begin seriously looking at a White House bid, joining Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Russ Feingold and John Kerry (Barack Obama rumors continue to circulate, but no serious signs yet from his camp).

Dodd likely has until spring 2007 to show that he can compete with the big boys (and girl). If he can't show considerable movement -- both financially and organizationally -- by then, he is not likely to be a factor in the '08 primaries.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 13, 2006; 5:09 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Giuliani Watch: "Seriously Considering"
Next: The Friday Line: Md. Jumps 4 Spots on Govs. Rankings


Clearly Dodd has a shot at the presidency. When a you can outdrink any 2 of your opponents head-to-head at the same time, you have to be taken seriously as a candidate.

Posted by: Mumbai Kid | July 18, 2006 3:18 AM | Report abuse

Just checked my regular mail, not e-mail and there was 3 dems and 2 rep fund raisers among the junk. This is, in my way of thinking, going to be one heck of a mud-slinger, the likes of we haven't seen in a long time. The house races are shaping up to be, as some would say [unprecented]. Mean, Vicious, Dirty, and add the other etcs.

Posted by: lylepink | July 14, 2006 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Doomed. Doomed, doomed, doomed. Why do people do this? Is there nobody they can talk to who will tell them that they do not have a snowball's chance in hell of ever becoming President? The only thing funnier than this is Tom Daschle actually thinking that the biggest loser of the '04 Senate races has the slightest shadow of a chance. There must be somthing in the water on Capitol Hill that makes every ho-hum Senator think that he's got exactly what America wants in the White House.

Posted by: Jackson Landers | July 14, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Ooops! Check that! The Connecticut primary is August 10th. Six weeks for the rest of us.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | July 14, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I live Sen. Dodd. He has been a wonderful Senator, a great party spokesman and an overall good guy. But, please. Chris, you have no shot. You are in a 3 way close battle to see which Democrat is the first out. Right now clearly Tom Daschle is ahead by a nose over Joe Biden, with Dodd on the outside. As I say to all three of them. Great careers, even a potential high level cabinet post, but you have a better shot at winning the British Open then getting the nomination.

Posted by: Lawrence P. Frogg | July 14, 2006 4:44 PM | Report abuse

On a trip on Sunday border-to-border on the old Connecticut Turnpike (I-95) saw only one current political bumper sticker. It was for Ned Lamont; the car had Texas plates. I think most Nutmeggers are at the beach or in the Berkshires right now. Another six weeks before "silly season" ends.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | July 14, 2006 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are no doubt quaking in their boots at the prospect of going up against a northeastern -- how many of them get into the White House? -- senator -- again, how many senators have been elected directly to the white house -- Please. People who donate money to these things. Look around. Kick the tires of a candidate who has a chance of winning. Maybe Dodd is running for VP -- in the hopes of luring former Governor Warner or former Senator Edwards (who won't bite) falling prey to the quaint old notion of balancing the ticket ... Hillary certainly wouldn't bite ... she'll be looking for a governor or general who is everything she's not (and then they can lose 35 states to McCain with her ... should that boat leave dock.)

Posted by: Common Sense | July 14, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

JimD: I agree no missile defense system could handle an onslaught of hundreds if not thousands of missiles from a major power but they can handle a couple by rogue states like Iran and North Korea. While there is no gurantee they may work in real world situation, please tell me what your alternative would be to no missle defense system. And no "surrender is not an option"

Posted by: bhoomes | July 14, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

One more point on the missle defense system, bhoomes, "successful tests" conducted by the military are often far removed from replicating anything close to real world conditions. I am a retired officer with experience in major program acquisition.

Posted by: JimD | July 14, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the missle defense system was that it would not work against a Soviet style massive attack. There is a markedly different technological challenge in targeting one or several missles launched by a rogue state or a terrorist group versus targeting a massive nuclear strike from another super-power.

Posted by: JimD | July 14, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

peter: Some friends of mine, very informed about Chris, are saying he does not intend to make a run in 08 and is going to support Ned behind the doors sort of in the primary. He is very disapointed in Chris, despite the public view we see. This is about Iraq, and Joe's blind support of POTUS. Joe is bad for dems.

Posted by: lylepink | July 14, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Dodd's presidential bid will get him one thing: an extra paragraph in his Wikipedia entry!

Posted by: The Caped Composer | July 14, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Like most US Senators, Dodd's biggest problem in appealing to voters is that he talks too much and too long, and doesn't listen. They all get out among the voters and babble. None of them can give a short answer to anything. They have Q &A sessions and only get to answer 2 questions because every answer takes 15 minutes. Dodd and Biden are the worst.

Posted by: democrat | July 14, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Drindl: You must not be watching the news. The Air Force had a successful test on Tuesday in the skys of New Mexico. We are building a redundant/layered system, in case one fails the other one nails it. That is lot better than NO DEFENSE. How many trillions would it cost if the North Koreans nuked LA. Money well spent. Just another reason not to trust the dems with our lives.

Posted by: bhoomes | July 14, 2006 9:50 AM | Report abuse

As Asbury said above - don't underestimate this guy. He's smart, he's tough, he has good relationships on both sides of the aisle, and his record is stronger than you might realize on the stuff people care about, from fiscal responsibility to funding for first responders to children's health and education. He brings a lot to the table, so keep an eye on him.

Posted by: RedtoBlue2006 | July 14, 2006 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Could anyone who's familiar with Dodd's work post on it? I'm not really sensing that this is a plausible campaign.

Posted by: peter | July 14, 2006 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Diplomacy will protect you better than the current missile defense system.

Posted by: peter | July 14, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Missile Defense System? HAHAHHA. Ah, bhoomes, you are a dupe, aren't you? You believe anything they tell you. Don't you know the 'missle defense system' despite having been 30 years in the making and uncountable billions of dollars sunk into, does not work? It is not, as the military would say, 'operational'.

Christ, grow up and stop believing in fairy tales. Nobody is 'protecting' you from anything.

Posted by: Drindl | July 14, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Another northeastern senator, now that's a winning ticket. 2008 will still be about national secruity and all of these senators are the very ones who did not want us to have a missile defense system to protect this country from the likes of rogue states like North Korea and Iran. They are well meaning but will get all killed if we should listen to them about not protecting this country.

Posted by: bhoomes | July 14, 2006 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Chris is a good Senator. As a moderate we need more like him in the Senate to at least have some chance of getting something done. This IDIOT-OLOGY on both sides, can and must be scaled back, at least a little.

Posted by: lylepink | July 14, 2006 5:22 AM | Report abuse

It has nothing to do with liberal or the Northeast. It has to do with Dodd being a tool. Can we adapt the term Joementum for a Chris?

Posted by: Greg in LA | July 13, 2006 11:20 PM | Report abuse

A liberal Democrat from Connecticut will never make it.


If he does he'll be extremely lucky at least.

If the Democrats run a VERY centrist-appearing ticket, they will win hands down in 2008 I think. Provided that Bush is still stuck in the hole he's dug himself in... and I cant really see that changing at all.

Posted by: PoliNerd | July 13, 2006 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Maura Keefe was a key component to the Dean campaign's early success in NH and Iowa; she is very smart and highly regarded. Her brother is still very popular among NH Democrats. Don't underestimate Senator Dodd.

Posted by: Asbury | July 13, 2006 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I have nothing against Chris Dodd. I understand most CT residents seem to like what the guy has done for the state. Unfortunately, just like the Biden presidential run--this seems like another vanity campaign. The DC insider tag--which is an easy label to slap on any Senator--presents a giant hurdle to almost any presidential campaign.

The last Democratic Senator from the northeast to win a presidential election was JFK. I'm sure this trend won't change anytime in the near future.

Posted by: JPTERP | July 13, 2006 8:41 PM | Report abuse

either way, its about time someone from the Peace Corps takes on every other brainless ideologue for a chance at the White House

Posted by: bp | July 13, 2006 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the no chance club, Senator Dodd. Meet Senators Biden, Bayh and Frist, Gov. Warner and Gov. Romney. Nice sell out to Lieberman, by the way, and a great beginning of the campaign for the support of your party. You are officially 0 for 1.

PS I don't know what a "waitress sandwich" is, but apparently there are some folks that think you are going to have a problem explaining it to us.

Posted by: Greg in LA | July 13, 2006 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Rosa DeLauro is awesome.

Have you seen the Seattle PI story about Maria Cantwell trying to buy off her last remaining primary rival?? She's giving the Republicans great attack ad fodder.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | July 13, 2006 5:33 PM | Report abuse

As I've said before, every US Senator at some point thinks he/she could or should be President.

Posted by: RMill | July 13, 2006 5:32 PM | Report abuse

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