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Dodd's Troubles Continue

Sen. Chris Dodd's re-election prospects are on shaky ground. Photo by Larry Downing of REUTERS

A report in the Associated Press that a former Countrywide official has told House and Senate investigators that Sen. Chris Dodd knew that he was part of the company's VIP loan program further complicates the Connecticut Democrat's re-election effort.

The AP, citing a transcript of testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote that former Countrywide official Robert Feinberg has said that both Dodd and North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad (D) were told early on that "who you know is basically how you're coming in here".

Feinberg's allegation are not new, since many of them were detailed in the Portfolio magazine report last summer that sparked this controversy and these investigations. What's new is that the congressional committees are talking to him, producing more stories about the controversial mortgages.

Dodd has previously said he knew he was part of a VIP program but was unaware that he was getting anything other than "enhanced customer service". The actual program, which was known as "Friends of Angelo" (for then CEO Angelo Mozilo), was far broader, according to Feinberg, giving members preferred rates and other perks. (Dodd's office insisted he got no preferential treatment and put out a detailed fact sheet to make that case.)

Bryan DeAngelis, a spokesman for Dodd, said that the Senator and his wife "did not seek or expect any special rates or terms on their loans and they never received any; they were never offered special or sweetheart deals and if anyone had made such an offer- they would have severed that relationship immediately."

Regardless of who is in the right, the "he said, he said" between Feinberg and Dodd illustrates why many Democrats are so worried about the Connecticut Senator's ability to win re-election next fall.

Polling shows that Dodd has been badly damaged by the allegations of preferential treatment from Countrywide as well as questions surrounding his purchase of a cottage in Ireland.

Whether or not Dodd did anything wrong in either case, the prolonged discussion of Countrywide is decidedly not helpful to him or his chances next fall.

It provides fodder for his Republican opponents to cast him as ethically challenged. Case in point, the statement from former Rep. Rob Simmons (R) who is one of several candidates challenging Dodd. "The people of Connecticut are entitled to a full accounting of the truth and I look forward to a complete report from the Senate Ethics Committee," said Simmons.

And, it makes it more difficult for Dodd to make the case to voters that his seniority in the Senate is critical for the state on issues like credit card and health care reform.

The AP report reinforces our decision to put Dodd at the top of last week's Friday Senate Line as the most vulnerable incumbent in the country. If Dodd can't find a way through the tangle of questions regarding Countrywide and/or his poll numbers don't improve, expect increased pressure to be brought to bear on him to step aside.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 28, 2009; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Posted by: opp88 | July 30, 2009 2:19 AM | Report abuse

There isn't - or at least, shouldn't be - such a thing as being a "little unethical".

Goodbye Senator. Take your dirty laundry, and leave.

Posted by: molsonmich | July 29, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I live in CT, and I am horrified with what Dodd has done to the United States over the years.

Dodd and Barney Frank led the Bill Clinton charge, to enforce "every american to own a home". If you recall, this opened up the flood gates, Dodd and Frank forcing many financial entities to make loans to people that could not afford a home. This was a MAJOR contribution to the economic nightmare we recently experienced.

Most recently, his socialist path for health care has been frightening. Without regard for quality, the elderly, or free enterprise (trying to kill off private insurance companies), he continues to avoid hurting the Plaintiff's Bar, which has contributed more to the Democratic Party than all the Unions in the U.S. combined.

Yes, I'm talking about the simplest, and easiest thing to focus on: Tort Reform

No one if focusing on it because the Plaintiff's Bar (the lawyers who make Bilions of dollars per year, litteraly) would stop supporting the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Roughneck | July 29, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"everything does seem to breaking our way"

In other words, "been down so long, it looks like up to me."

Posted by: nodebris | July 29, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse


It's the K_o_Z blog again! I'm going to have to switch my laptop! Clearly it's gone all gaga!

If I'd actually reached the comments section of The Fix, I would have said that, contrary to Mark Twain, reports of Senator Dodd's [political] death are actually underreported!

Dodd should read the handwriting on the wall and retire gracefully (as KY's Sen. Bunning did, gracelessly) so as to allow a viable Democrat to run for the seat. Don't be a spoiler, Sen. Dodd.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 28, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

"No,I think that would be close to impossible, DDAWD, but everything does seem to breaking our way and Obama will more than likely be polling in the low 40'a and dems will have to separate themselves from an unpopular President. Kinda reminds me of 06."

You do understand regression to the mean, right? Obama's polling numbers have dropped a bit since he was elected, but when someone is as popular as he is, you expect that. That doesn't mean you should be expecting that this is a linear path that will continue ad infinitum. That's just not how it works. I think Obama's polling numbers are really stable at the mid to high 50s and will probably stick there through the end of the year.

I'm not sure what things seem to be breaking Republicans' way other than getting some good candidates. The environment is still pretty toxic for the big R and the major Senate battlegrounds are going to be in Republican held seats. The big Republican pickup opportunities are in Colorado, Delaware, and Connecticut. Not really friendly territory.

And those are the BEST Republican opportunities.

In comparison, Dems have open seats in New Hampshire and Ohio, very blue states in 2008. Pennsylvania almost certainly stays blue and perhaps goes even bluer.

If you want to talk about someone like Mark Kirk in Illinois, then you have to mention Charlie Melancon in Louisiana. I don't know why Melancon doesn't get mention on here, but he's in the same situation of a popular candidate in unfriendly territory. The two certainly cancel each other out. Even the slate of Democrats in Kentucky is pretty good and they were quite competitive in 2008.

Things are better for Republicans than they were a few weeks ago, but they are still in very bad shape. People still hate them and it will be hard to make any more than incremental progress unless that changes. Incremental is not nothing, but it's not going to get the Senate back.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 28, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

vbhoomes writes
"everything does seem to breaking our way and Obama will more than likely be polling in the low 40'a and dems will have to separate themselves from an unpopular President."

Oy. Nothing in politics happens that fast. Prepare yourself for major disappointment.


Posted by: bsimon1 | July 28, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

No,I think that would be close to impossible, DDAWD, but everything does seem to breaking our way and Obama will more than likely be polling in the low 40'a and dems will have to separate themselves from an unpopular President. Kinda reminds me of 06.

Posted by: vbhoomes | July 28, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"Regardless of who is in the right . . . Whether or not Dodd did anything wrong in either case . . ."

Boy, wouldn't it be useful if there were some sort of trusted organization that could research these issues and publish the results of its investigation?

Posted by: nodebris | July 28, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I like Dodd personally, and I like his politics.

But I know first-hand Dodd has played fast and loose with some ethics issues, one major one in particular in which he and his wife were doing things unbecoming a Senator. That these ethical lapses seem to plague him do not come as a surprise. And that's unfortunate.

Posted by: HillRat | July 28, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"Stick a fork in Dodd, he's done. The dems would be smart to dump him, so they would least have a chance to hold onto this seat. If this keeps up, we will win the Senate. I thought that was impossible, not so sure now."

Let me get this straight.

You're saying there's a chance that Republicans will flip ELEVEN Senate seats in 2010?

Posted by: DDAWD | July 28, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Stick a fork in Dodd, he's done. The dems would be smart to dump him, so they would least have a chance to hold onto this seat. If this keeps up, we will win the Senate. I thought that was impossible, not so sure now.

Posted by: vbhoomes | July 28, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

In the hearings on the sweetheart real estate deal that Dodd got, Robert Feinberg, from Countrywide VIP section, testified that Senator Kent Conrad and James Johnson and Franklin Raines, both former Fannie Mae executives and both Obama advisors, also solicited and received special treatment. The hearings are ongoing but it appears that there are documents to backup Feinberg's testimony and there are *a lot* more Democrats that are in real trouble over this.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 28, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Dodd is damaged goods, probably beyond redemption. If he's got any sense of dignity he'll do a Bunning and step aside for the good of his state and his party (in that order).

Then again, most multi-term senators (of either party) are not known for being altruistic or humble. They enjoy having power and cling to it until it's pried from their cold, discredited hands, though sometimes they retire because they see a better opportunity waiting for them beyond their current office.

Posted by: Gallenod | July 28, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

My sense is that if you dig deep enough, almost all of our elected officials have some of these "I'm entitled" skeletons in their closets - Dodd and other Dems likely have plenty of Republican company.

Health care is a perfect example. Our Senators and Representatives get a first class health care system, but it's a bit of a stretch, it seems, for them to extend this to us ordinary citizens. They're entitled - we have to hope our employers are as generous (or that we can afford to pay for health insurance on our own). At least here I'll give Dodd credit - he's on the HELP Committee, which has crafted a bill that would extend coverage significantly - unlike the Finance Committee, which is much less likely to move us toward a real plan for universal coverage.

Posted by: -pamela | July 28, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse


The fact that thousands of others are in the VIP program raises the question: Was Dodd naively set up, never realizing that his "VIP" mortgage status would be employed as a political weapon against him?

Liberals do tend to be naive when it comes to recognizing the venal forces working against a progressive, democratic (small "d") agenda. To whit:

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 28, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: drivl

Moonbat translation:

Stop posting facts about Libs and doing your job as a journalist. Return to the cheerleading section and work to install Libs in office by lying and obfuscating.

CC - to please the loon drivl, you could demonstrate the new Kruggman economics wherein we get more and better coverage for less money. then I'll take my free lunch (apologies to Uncle Milt for mentioning his name in the same post as Dr Kookoo.)

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 28, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

no one here but the Village Idiot. FLEE THE INANITY!

Posted by: drindl | July 28, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if any of those greedy pediatricians who remove tonsils simply for the money will be included in my new big government health plan?

I bet Tiller the Killer, who did unspeakable things FOR THE MONEY is included on my list of free services but NOT on Obimbo's list of doctors who deserve opprobriation.

while we are exerting our post racial mentality, remember that ALL COPS are out to get the black man. It is because America is such a hateful country.

Maybe if Obimbo went to church on Sunday instead of playing golf three times a week, he would see the good in people. Oh wait, I forgot the kind of church he likes to attend. Never mind.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 28, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

After many hours of study and contemplation, the moonbat drivl assembles her most cogent and intellectual thoughts and comes up with:


The village idiot is typing frantically today.

Posted by: drivl

As sign is posted on her monitor:

Over two million posts. not one bit of intellect involved yet.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 28, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: drindl | July 28, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Last night on The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart peppered right-wing pundit Bill Kristol with questions about why he is opposed to health care reform that includes a public health insurance option. Why is government-run health care “good enough for the military,” but “not good enough for the people of America?” Stewart asked.

Kristol — who has urged conservative activists and Republicans to “resist the temptation” to work with Democrats in crafting health reform and instead “go for the kill” — responded that the military “deserves it,” but the American people do not:

STEWART: Are you saying the American public shouldn’t have access to the same quality health care that we give to our better citizens?

KRISTOL: To our soldiers? Absolutely. [Crowd boos]

Kristol explained that soldiers get paid less, but “one way we make it up to” them is by giving them “first-class health care.” “I feel like you’ve trapped me somehow,” Kristol observed. Indeed, Stewart explained the flaw in Kristol’s logic:

STEWART: I just want to get this on record — Bill Kristol just said that the government can run a first-class health care system.

KRISTOL: Sure it can. [Crowd applauds]

STEWART: And a government-run system is better than a private health care system.

Posted by: drindl | July 28, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

What does a community organizer do? What he does not do is organize a community. What he organizes are the resentments and paranoia within a community, directing those feelings against other communities, from whom either benefits or revenge are to be gotten, using whatever rhetoric or tactics will accomplish that purpose.

To think that someone who has spent years promoting grievance and polarization was going to bring us all together as president is a triumph of wishful thinking over reality.

Not only Barack Obama's past, but his present, tell the same story. His appointment of an attorney general who called America "a nation of cowards" for not dialoguing about race was a foretaste of what to expect from Eric Holder.

The way Attorney General Holder has refused to prosecute young black thugs who gathered at a voting site with menacing clubs, in blatant violation of federal laws against intimidating voters, speaks louder than any words from him or his president.

President Obama's first nominee to the Supreme Court is, like Obama himself, someone with a background of years of affiliation with an organization dedicated to promoting racial resentments and a sense of racial entitlement.

An 18th century philosopher said, "When I speak I put on a mask. When I act I am forced to take it off." Barack Obama's mask slipped for a moment last week but he quickly recovered, with the help of the media. But we should never forget what we saw.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 28, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The village idiot is typing frantically today.

Posted by: drindl | July 28, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Here are “The 21 Things You Cannot Say to the President after a News Conference”:

1. Hey, we hear the Golf Channel is going to carry it next time. Well, actually, only the Golf Channel is going to carry it next time.

2. Don’t worry. We’ll get ’em next year.

3. Professor Gates called. He can’t find his house keys.

4. You want to take a mulligan on this one?

5. We did try to plant a question about Bo, but nobody would go for it.

6. Saying, “I don’t know all the facts ... but the police acted stupidly” is a little like saying, “I don’t know if there are weapons of mass destruction ... but let’s invade Iraq anyway.”

7. We’ve decided to call the whole news conference a “teachable moment.”

8. You want a cigarette?

9. Biden called.

10. William Henry “Bill” Gates is the Microsoft guy. Robert Michael Gates is the secretary of defense guy. Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the Harvard professor. They are not related and have never performed in Vegas together. Gibbs will walk this back in the gaggle.

11. Tape it over? But, Mr. President, these press conferences are live.

12. The reason we can’t put the questions on the teleprompter is because we aren’t supposed to know the questions in advance.

13. Those bunched-up clothes in the bed turned out not to be Douglas Elmendorf.

14. That reporter wasn’t from North Carolina; he was from North Korea.

15. Hillary called.

16. You want a blue pill?

17. We checked: After six months, they can’t fire you.

18. If nobody blogs about it, we think you’ll be OK.

19. Now, is somebody willing to rehearse more and play golf less?

20. The only poll that counts is the one on Election Day.

21. Rahm wants to see you in his office immediately.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 28, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama is experiencing resistance on health care. The problem isn’t that Obama has suddenly lost his communication or speechifying skills; it is that he and his party are advocating legislation that with every passing day and every new Congressional Budget Office assessment looks worse and worse. Time and analysis, debate and scrutiny, facts and reality: these are the real enemies of Obama’s agenda.

On the campaign trail, words can gloss over a multitude of weaknesses. Governing is different, and harder. Even someone of Obama’s talent cannot make rainy days appear like sunny days. He cannot make the sun rise from the west. He cannot turn a slander against a police officer into a “teachable moment” for America. And he cannot turn higher health-care costs into lower health-care costs, no matter how often he insists he can. Watching the White House trot Obama out for interview after interview, for town-hall meeting after town-hall meeting, in order to “sell” his health-care plan, and to watch it become increasingly unpopular all the while, is to be reminded of the limitations of words in American politics, especially false and misleading words

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 28, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

The United States Postal Service will get some bad but unsurprising news today. The Government Accountability Office is expected to add it to its list of "high risk" government operations.The GAO publishes a biennial list of high risk agencies, which they define as having "significant management challenges."

what the government does for mail delivery they will soon try to do with medical delivery.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 28, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) are fiercely denying a report that they knew they were getting sweetheart mortgage deals — accusing a Countrywide Financial loan officer of distorting their relationships with the former mortgage giant.

so either they are liars and are crooked OR they are too stupid to be in charge of financial happenings. which is it?

Can you imagine being in charge of banking oversight and not knowing what a mortgage rate is? got to be a Lib.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 28, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Last I heard, Ned Lamont is thinking about running for Governor of Connecticut. He would probably be a good candidate, but I think he is pretty close to Dodd and I don't see Lamont challenging Dodd directly nor pressuring him to resign. More likely, he'll take a shot at Lieberman again if he doesn't run for Governor.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 28, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

what a surprise. Libs are crooked. Now if anyone found an honest Lib that would be news.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 28, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: JakeD | July 28, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

What happened to the guy that lost to Lieberman? Seems like the Dems should send someone into the bullpen for warmup so they're ready when this guy gets pulled.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 28, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

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