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Dodd Throws a Punch

Following the flap over David Geffen's comments, all of the Democrats running for president resorted to playing nice publicly.

Until now.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) just released a statement taking former Sen. John Edwards to task for his new ads on President Bush's veto of a bill establishing a firm deadline for withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

"As Senator Dodd was the first candidate to support the Reid-Feingold measure, we agree that Democrats in the Senate should stand up to a President who stubbornly refuses to change his failed policy in Iraq," said Christy Setzer. "We wish that Senator Edwards was still in the Senate for this important fight."

Setzer added: "If we can't get his vote in the Senate, of course we would welcome Senator Edwards ' support for Senator Dodd's plan, which would safely re-deploy out troops and bring an end to this war within on year rather than the incremental eighteen-month approach he has proposed."


Edwards spokesman, Eric Schultz, responded quickly saying that "John Edwards has called for the immediate withdrawal of 40,000 to 50,000 troops followed by an orderly withdrawal of 12 to 18 months."

Edwards has previously supported using the power of the purse to bring an end to the war. In 2003 Edwards voted against the $87 billion war funding bill made famous by Sen. John Kerry's "I voted for it, before I voted against it," comment in the 2004 election.

Dodd is the lone presidential candidate to voice support for the measure being sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) that would set a date certain for not just withdrawal of American troops but for funding for the war. Dodd's campaign has repeatedly highlighted that fact as an attempt to distinguish himself from the field of better known candidates include Edwards as well as Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.).

The quote from Dodd's camp expresses a frustration felt by all of the Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate toward Edwards over the ads, which aim to pressure them to stand strong against any attempts to compromise on Iraq legislation.

The argument goes that Edwards, a private citizen, is free to throw rhetorical bombs at his Senate rivals with no real consequences since he will never have to vote on a bill or bills that may be seen as half measures or worse by base voters. That's a luxury that Obama, Clinton, Dodd and Sen. Joe Biden (Del.) don't enjoy.

Does this start a period of more direct attacks among the candidates? It just might.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 2, 2007; 4:16 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Parsing the Polls: No Room For Compromise on Iraq
Next: Senate Recruiting Under the Microscope


Posted by: Nbkvqsk | May 23, 2007 3:26 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Nbkvqsk | May 23, 2007 3:26 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Nbkvqsk | May 23, 2007 3:26 AM | Report abuse

The lead in to this column is:

"Following the flap over David Geffen's comments, all of the Democrats running for president resorted to playing nice publicly."

And then Chris Cillizza goes out and misses what David Geffen had to say. Here it is:

"Everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it's troubling," Geffen said.

It was first quoted in Maureen Dowd's column. Even the LA Times buried it in a story. The cable TV news shows picked up the general Geffin storm - but in hours of coverage, everyone was very careful in not repeating the most damning revelation of all - that which we all know in our hearts, but don't want to come to grips with. The Clinton's are "Natural Born Liars."

Imagine a close friend of Bush and Laura - a former supporter - coming out and making such a charge. Well, of course we know - the media would headline it - and Bush and his people would never face another reporter without having to answer the question.

Has a single reporter asked Hillary or Bill Clinton to respond, yet. No! They are very afraid of the wrath of these two people, and 2. the press absolutely does not want that conversation to be on the voters minds.

Sad state - this media of ours.

Posted by: for fairness | May 3, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Pancho Grillo Hijo:
Bill Richardson is Hispanic. His mother and his paternal grandmother were (are) both Mexicans. His father and his father's siblings were all born in Nicaragua. Richardson was born in Pasadena but grew up in Mexico City at least until high-school. Some of us who claim HIspanic heritage have funny sounding names. Must have been those refugees from the potato famine, French revolutions, Jewish diaspora, or WWI/II. We are a diverse lot. Multi-cultural and multi-lingual. And Richardson? Best resume of the lot.

Posted by: TSullivan | May 3, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Who is Sen. Dodd?

Posted by: seted | May 3, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The argument that John Edwards does not have to face angry voters is so incredibly ridiculous. He's running for the top job for crying out loud!

He's going to face the whole country, over and over again, making his record public and permanent, not like the slithering Dem representatives hiding from the pubic.

The weak Dems may not hurt themselves by not standing up to Bush, but the anger they are creating and the damage they do will all go toward Hillary and backwash against her, as it should be, removing her from the possibility of public office forever. Just watch. (and thank Carl Levin and others).

Posted by: tropicalart | May 3, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Okay washpost, agreed. The U.S. will never claim the moral high ground again. And we'll all be the better off for it.

Now that's done, could you please go check a little history. The point of the Iraq "enterprise" according to the Bush administration, was WMDs and the involvement of Saddam Hussein in the 9/11 attacks, neither of which proved to be true. So, reality is, we have no defined mission there, and no "moral obligation" to send young men and young women over there to die because the decider is too juvenile to admit he made a colossal blunder.


Posted by: balthus9 | May 3, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Dave!: I don't see the region becoming stable anytime soon. I see an explosion that is being barely contained by the US presence. Take away that presence and watch the fireworks.

That said, the the US electorate, the Iraqi's and the world at large seem to want us out of Iraq. Even though we are telling them about this powderkeg, they insist we leave. Well that removes our moral obligation to the people of Iraq.

When people come at us a year after the ethnic cleansing in Iraq, the US can say sorry, we told you this would happen. You told us to leave anyway. We offered to stay and stabilize the mess but you told us not. Therefore its not our problem.

Its our responsibility if we stay. If we bow to world pressure and leave, it is no longer our responsibiility. The people demanding we leave assume responsibility in our place.

Posted by: Dan W | May 3, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Why cant dodd just explain why is it difficult to enforce what edwards says than crying like a baby that edwards is not in the senate.

Posted by: STONE | May 3, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

"No, we shouldn't -- not until we stop doing immoral things." Well, war is in and of itself immoral, you know all that killing and stuff. But I am glad to see that you believe the US and its military (oh wait, i mean the military US contractors) are worse than Saddam.

"How long should we sacrifice our young people there? Five more years? 10 more years?" Until your objectives are reached. Expanding on your logic, it sounds like your idea is that we should cap the length of military excursions because you don't have the patience or stomach to see things through longer than that or when things are not going our way. I guess 5 years is a good timeframe. Ok from now on, no more wars longer than 5 years. That should make every one happy, right? Or maybe the length of time should be decided by the posters on this blog because we know better than anybody what is right from a military standpoint. Or we could have Pelosi and Bush get together for a game of Rock/paper/scissors and the winner would determine if it is time to quit. Or we could rely on the knowledge and wisdom of the people that make the military their life and career. Maybe they should decide how best to fight the war. Wait, what am i thinking, Jane knows better than those people.

Posted by: Dave! | May 3, 2007 7:13 AM | Report abuse

John Edwards used his Senate seat as a stepping stone to the White House. He never started a real constituency outreach service within his office, he just hired staffers to help him run for President. He probably would have lost to Richard Burr if he had dropped out of the Presidential Race and run for reelection, but at anyrate Burr won anyway, so that is one less seat the Democrats have in the Senate. Dodd is justified in making the statement he made. John Edwards has never had to answer for the mistakes he made as a US Senator from my state. The only race he lost was the 2004 Presidential Election, which he can blame on John Kerry.

Raleigh, NC

Posted by: James Hauser | May 3, 2007 5:47 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: iPol | May 3, 2007 3:51 AM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | May 3, 2007 2:35 AM | Report abuse

"...Throws A Punch"

Ah, the scrutiny of it all!

Posted by: jojo | May 3, 2007 1:38 AM | Report abuse

John Edwards is a weasel. He's been bashing the Dem Congress for months. His poll numbers are frozen and the only state in which he has a lead (Iowa) is not really a lead at all given that he and his wife practically live in Iowa.

His political life is coming to an end and he knows it.

And good riddance to him.

Posted by: Jonathon Schier | May 3, 2007 1:05 AM | Report abuse

"Does this start a period of more direct attacks among the candidates? It just might."
Well, its been several months since the Dems had any practice at personal direct attacks. I guess training camp opened early this year. Don't you think it really started during the debate when Gravel said "And I got to tell you, after standing up with them, some of these people frighten me -- they frighten me."
And when pressed as to who - "Well, I would say the top tier ones. The top tier ones. They've made statements. Oh, Joe, I'll include you, too. You have a certain arrogance. You want to -- you want to tell the Iraqis how to run their country."

Posted by: Dave! | May 2, 2007 11:00 PM | Report abuse

"Does this start a period of more direct attacks among the candidates? It just might."

Give me a break. This is just a sign of Kucinich-level desperation on the part of a washed-up Chirs Dodd.

Posted by: paul | May 2, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

He's going for the Borgen vote.

Posted by: bobby | May 2, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Is it Christopher or Christine. I have not heard of this candidate before. As for Edwards, if he wants to bring the troops home then he should do so without delay. When he avoids a Senate vote he is avoiding the issue. How can that be responsible? 18 months is forever. How many troops and Iraqis will get killed in the meantime?

Posted by: Robert James | May 2, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

After all this political rhetoric and talking head opinions all I have is one question and should truly be the focus of this country.
Where's Bin Laden?

Posted by: WereAllDoomed | May 2, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Lieberman ran as a VP candidate and his senate seat simultaneously in 2000 and won, so there is no reason Edwards could not do that in 2004. The sad truth is that he would not have been reelected, and chose the flashy exit rather than fighting honorably to retain a seat for the Dems.

Posted by: freeDom | May 2, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I was just over at CNN, reading about a real conservative, "Ronald Reagan". Tin Foil and the rest of you Bush defenders ought to be ashamed of yourselves. Reagan, even though I disagreed with him, was great Amercian and a "conscience conservative" -

You still have Hagel and a few other's like Reagan, but Bush and his whack jobs are doing everything in their power to bury them and actual conservatives. Compare them to Bush and hang your heads in shame.

Posted by: MikeB | May 2, 2007 7:45 PM | Report abuse

tinfoil hat squad - You and the rabid dogs on the right and lame brain Dodd are the ones that made the charge against Edwards being a 'civilian'. Well, this *IS* the answer and it is a pretty good one, too. So, Edwards acrificed a lot more than Mr. Dodd and put his belief in front of his Senate seat. Pretty darn courageous from where I sit. You people are phonies and idiots. No points for you or the Republian partisan Chris.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I`m hearing all the time that Gov. Richardson is an ``Hispanic,`` especially from him. What was his name before he changed it?

Posted by: Pancho Grillo Hijo | May 2, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

"good to rewrite history comrade."

Zouk, that's the pot calling the kettle black.

Still waiting for your answer on which Private school courses there are for Creative History Writing.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Except for the wig, aren`t Dodd and Biden the same person?

Posted by: Rev. Langley Longstaffe | May 2, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

'But then let's all agree that the U.S. should never again claim the moral high ground anywhere.'

No, we shouldn't -- not until we stop doing immoral things. Right now, we are financing Shiite death squads and torturing random iraqis and keeping them locked up for years wihtout a trial. Tell me how this is making things better for the iraqi people? Tell me how 'moral' is this?

US contractors have been responsible for the deaths of many iraqi civilians, and they are immune from punishment, under a decree passed by the american 'viceroy'. Tell me how this is 'moral'. Our military is being broken and our children and grandchildren saddled with enormous debt. Tell me how this is 'moral'.

and what makes you so sure that the violence will be worse than it is already? How do you know the american occupation is not making it worse?

If we tell the iraqis we are leaving, perhaps they can find it in themselves to get along. We can't hold their hands forever. It's been four years. How long should we sacrifice our young people there? Five more years? 10 more years? Clearly you don't have a kid in the service.

Grow up.

Posted by: Jane | May 2, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Edwards and Obama: two peas in a pod. They're both trying to run on things they said and did while not in the Senate and forced to go on record, while running away from what they did as members of the Senate. Funny how the only democratic candidate with the stones to stand by a Senate vote is a woman. And that, my friends, is why she will win.

Posted by: dcjoe | May 2, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

The Iraqi mine has exploded once, and will explode again if the U.S. withdraws, but this time the explosion will be far worse.

That's why the real question is whether the U.S. can withstand the moral implications of abandoning Iraq to a vicious civil war.

Those mentioning the regional implications of an Iraqi civil war are right: they would be devastating. Inside Iraq itself, there will probably be the kind of carnage we saw in Bosnia if the U.S. leaves too soon, unless Iraqis can come to a political agreement beforehand.

But what about the moral dimension here? The U.S., for better or worse, is responsible for what is happening in Iraq today. If the Americans withdraw and leave a bitter conflict behind them, this would be catastrophic not only for U.S. authority in the world, but for the way Americans see themselves as embodying a liberal, even moral, ideal in the world.

On the same day the Virginia Tech killings took place, car bombs in Iraq killed many more people.

Nor is it enough to say: "It's the Iraqis' fault, let them deal with it." The point of the Iraqi enterprise, at least if we're to believe the Bush administration, was to bring to Iraq liberalism, prosperity and normalcy after decades of despotism.

If that claim was hypocritical, then a U.S. departure abandoning Iraq to ever greater paroxysms of violence would merely substantiate that hypocrisy.

If Americans are willing to engage in such hypocrisy -- and remember, a majority of Americans and members of Congress supported the Iraq war at the beginning -- so be it.

But then let's all agree that the U.S. should never again claim the moral high ground anywhere.

With all the talk about how America must get out of Iraq, very little has been heard about the moral implications with respect to the Iraqis themselves, who have already suffered far more casualties than the Americans and their allies.

It's time for that to change.

Posted by: washpost | May 2, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

"Edwards is a f*****."

Posted by: ann coulter | May 2, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

"sacrificing his safe Senate seat"

good to rewrite history comrade.

Posted by: tinfoil hat squad | May 2, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

May 2, 2007 05:53 PM - anonymous idiot: Edwards left the Senate so he go run against Bush and President In Charge Of Vice Cheney. He was the Democratic nominee and candidate for the U.S. What a lame comment from an obvious right wing attack dog! If he and Kerry had been elected, we wouldn't *BE* in this mess. So, by sacrificing his safe Senate seat, he gave one heck of a lot more up than any of the other candidates. Get it? And "your mother smells of Elderberries. Now, go away or I shall haunt you some more."

Posted by: MikeB | May 2, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"you can sit on this board and post drivel all day but it won't change a thing."

Straight from the voice of experience. for once drindl knows something. this has got to be a first for this blog.

Posted by: spindl | May 2, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

'By contrast, only 33 percent of the overall sample said they preferred that their lawmaker oppose a timeline as part of the Iraq funding bill.'

the losers of america, the deadenders, the chickenhawks.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Democrats go on offensive:

Obama - please don't hit me again
Edwards - is my hair OK?
clinton - If I have to I will throw ashtrays at you

Posted by: concerned Dem | May 2, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

now koz is 'spindl '-- he just can't stop thinking about me. you know why? because i'm telling the truth, and the truth is what he fears most. so he will continue to attack. but you know what koz? your side lost the election... and you will continue to lose because america has moved on and left clowns like you behind. you can sit on this board and post drivel all day but it won't change a thing.

why don't you get a life? you are a pathetic creature.

Posted by: drindl | May 2, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

spindl - Good quote from Buckley!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Good for Dodd. I'll bet the other campaigns are itching to say the same thing at the next debate. I know I personally am tired of his sitting on the sidelines complaining about the other candidates. If he felt so strongly, why did he leave the senate?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

surrender dorothy - the wicked witch

surrender america - dirty harry reid aka jihadist sympathizer

Posted by: spindl | May 2, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

William Buckley[!] today:

'The testimony reveals the CIA run by a man who cannot think straight, advising the national security adviser, who went on to make false allegations, and the vice president, who made more false allegations, and the president, who took ill-considered actions.'

Posted by: drindl | May 2, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

The electorate wants the troops out. I doubt it they care what Dodd says, says cause no one knows who he is.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

"Setzer added: 'If we can't get his vote in the Senate, of course we would welcome Senator Edwards ' support for Senator Dodd's plan, which would safely re-deploy out troops and bring an end to this war within on year rather than the incremental eighteen-month approach he has proposed.'


More like: Snorza! This 'punch' has no resonance with the electorate. Heck, it makes the Geffen episode look even more like "pistols at dawn!"

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | May 2, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

This is really nothing at all. Edwards' ads are great.

Posted by: Matt | May 2, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

john edwards is for any thing that is popular. i'm sure washington post editors can remember his "trial lawyer" passionate speeches for immediate overthrow of saddam hussein.

edward sponsored legislation that would authorise iraq invasion. he was more hawkish than even hillary in 2002.

i have to say that it was smart of him to apologize because his record was so nasty that his new base(dkos and mydd) would've cut his throat over his record.

oh, boy, do we need another edwards drama in 2007?

Posted by: moi | May 2, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Obama's having a bad day:

Posted by: William | May 2, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

And so it begins.

I didn't expect an outbreak of fratricide for a couple more months.

Posted by: bsimon | May 2, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Yawn. Dodd doesn't have a snowball's chance, and he knows it.

Posted by: drindl | May 2, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

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