Democrats Call Dodd Remarkable,’ Great’ Senator
Democratic Members were quick to offer words of support to Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on Wednesday after the veteran lawmaker announced he would not seek a sixth term in office. Noting Dodd’s legislative accomplishments and 30 years of Congressional service, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) noted that Dodd “has always been on the front lines to make a difference where it counts.— “I know how much of an honor it has been for Chris to serve the people of Connecticut and how truly difficult this decision was for him to step away,— Reid added in a statement. “His warm personality, sense of humor and optimistic spirit has won him great respect and many friends on both sides of the aisle.—Dodd, who faced the toughest re-election of his career this year, announced his retirement at a noon press conference in Connecticut. His decision was bittersweet for Democratic lawmakers who were concerned about his chances this November but weren’t ready to say goodbye. Dodd leaves behind the chairmanship of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. He long eyed running for Majority Leader and waged an unsuccessful bid for president last year.“Too often in politics, words get thrown around like good friend’ or remarkable colleague.’ For those of us who have shared in Chris’ laughter and stories, debated him … we know the full measure of those words when we talk about Chris Dodd, and we know this loss for the Senate will be felt a long time,— said Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, which Dodd once led. The Democratic reaction to Dodd’s announcement was far different than what was shown on Tuesday night for Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who surprised his colleagues when he announced that he would not run for re-election in his conservative-leaning state. President Barack Obama is said to have played a role in Dodd’s decision to step aside. Dodd built “a remarkable record of achievement for the people of Connecticut and our country,— Obama said. “While his work in the Senate is not yet finished, his leadership in that institution will be missed.—Obama called Dodd earlier Wednesday and told him he “has been honored to work with him and would do whatever he can to help him moving forward,— a White House official said. The president also spoke by phone Wednesday morning with Dorgan to thank him for his service.Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), whose relationship with Dodd took a hit following Lieberman’s 2006 re-election as an Independent, marveled at his colleague’s “remarkable era of service.— “Chris Dodd has been a genuinely great Senator for our state and country, and a close and valued friend and colleague for me. His retirement ends a remarkable era of service in the Senate by two generations of the Dodd family, beginning with his father Tom who was elected more than a half century ago in 1958,— Lieberman said. Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), called Dodd “a strong leader— in the Senate’s heated debate over health care reform. “In this respect, he of course carried out Sen. Kennedy’s lifelong dream of health care for every American, but in the process, emerged as a leader in his own right,— Harkin said of Dodd, praising him alongside the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). Keith Koffler contributed to this report.