Dodd's Bad Week Gets Worse

Sen. Chris Dodd has been having a bad week, with his role in the AIG bonus scandal making national news. Dodd even earned the wrath of an angry mob on The Daily Show last night:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
The Notorious AIG – Congress Wants to Blame Someone
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http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:220604
Daily Show Full Episodes Important Things w/ Demetri Martin Political Humor

The juxtaposition of Dodd’s two statements on the issue is particularly damaging. Dodd is now very closely associated with the AIG scandal, and not in a good way. I even heard the morning show guys on Rock 102, a Springfield, MA, station, talking about it this morning.

However, the AIG scandal is starting to die down a little bit, so obviously Dodd’s going to get a break, right? Wrong. The front page of the Courant this morning is focusing on Dodd’s problems, including the return of the mortgage scandal. Republican members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform have issued a report which suggests Dodd’s mortgage broke ethics rules.

Okay, first, this is a report from House Republicans, who are not known for their fondness of Dodd. But, as I noted yesterday, the report does contain some pretty bad stuff, such as the fact that Countrywide employees often went out of their way to inform customers if they were in the VIP program.

It’s a double whammy of bad news for Chris Dodd. Plus, his potential opponent for 2010, Rob Simmons, has finally weighed in on the controversy:

“He says one thing one day, one thing another day,” Simmons said. “Where’s the transparency in all of this? People have lost their savings, they’ve lost their jobs. There’s no leadership…I can’t believe the chairman of a committee can take a bill to the floor and speak in favor of it and vote on it without knowing what’s in it.

A very good point. However, Simmons himself has been known not to read bills. In late 2005, he voted for a budget bill without having read it, only to change his mind and vote against the final version after considerable pressure from constituents [1]. That said, Simmons wasn’t a committee chairman, he didn’t bring the bill forward, and that bill was brought to a vote with almost no time for any kind of review. Dodd’s staff inserted the language.

Damage Control

Dodd is in full damage control mode. He held a conference call with Connecticut reporters yesterday, and has attempted to explain that A) he didn’t know that the language would lead to AIG bonuses, and B) it’s all the administration’s fault. You can hear the full audio of the call over at MLN, where you can also view a nice sampling of media reaction collected by CTBlogger.

You can also take a look at CTNJ if you want a roundup of the highlights.

So far, Dodd’s damage control efforts don’t seem to be working very well. Dodd’s efforts to pass the buck to the Obama administration seems like an effort to weasel out of the blame, and the reaction has not been positive. Give Tim Geithner credit: once it became clear that the language originated with the Treasury department, he took responsibility for it. Dodd has yet to.

Both the media and the GOP smell blood, and they aren’t about to let up. The public is angry, too, and Dodd is feeling a lot of the frustration people feel about the economy and politicians in general. Even Nancy DiNardo says that Dodd could have “handled it better.”

So where does Dodd go from here? It’s hard to say. He can expect the next few weeks to be difficult, but if no new scandals emerge he can also reasonably expect things to improve from there. The next round of polling could prove to be very bad for him, however, and he should be prepared for that.

Will next week be better for Dodd? It’s hard to see how it could get much worse.

UPDATE: Well, one way it could get worse would be if high-profile newspaper columnists started calling for him to not run next year. Like, say, here.


Source
BUDGET BILL AN EMBARRASSMENT :[STATEWIDE Edition]. (2006, January 29). Hartford Courant,p. C2. Retrieved March 20, 2009, from Hartford Courant database. (Document ID: 978860481).
A quote from the article:

The conference bill, nearly 800 pages, was put forward after 1 a.m. A vote was called about four hours later. U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons said he didn’t read the bill — how could he have in that time period, he asks. How indeed. Yet he voted for it because of the “reasonable expectation that there was some good in it” and because “that’s the way it’s done.”

No wonder people are cynical about government.

Mr. Simmons has since changed his mind. After talking to constituents and advocates such as Connecticut Voices For Children, he said he was going to vote against the final version when it comes up in the House this week.

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13 responses to “Dodd's Bad Week Gets Worse

  1. wtfdnucsailor

    I guess Dodd is fortunate that all of this is coming out now rather than in July of 2010. There is plenty of time for other problems to attract the public’s attention between now and then. What he has to worry about is if this high visibility continues in the ‘drip,drip’ mode for the next year. Then, he will be in real trouble electorially. Right now, the hue and cry is annoying but not fatal. It will be fatal only if it continues well into next year.

  2. This article is on the front page of the New York Times. It’s basically comprised of quotes from the people of CT saying how they’ve lost touch with Dodd and think it’s time for a change.

    For example:

    Troy Beers of New London remembered how he felt in 1985, when the senator spoke at his graduation from Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School in Groton and took a moment to shake his hand.

    “He was inspiring back then,” said Mr. Beers, 41, a lifelong Democrat who is unemployed. “Now, he’s a dinosaur. There needs to be a change.”

  3. The real problem for Dodd and the remaining Democrats in Congress in 2010 is he fits into an ongoing pattern of incompetency and questionable behavior. The Administration doesn’t look good on the AIG matter either(although I believe Geithner tried to take a hit for Dodd since he’s definitely going to need him when he finally puts out his program for banking restruturing, and leaving Dodd to dangle out there would have been counter-productive). Treasury is staffless at the senior levels, and it’s reported that they want to fill these positions with people that have no connection to Wall Street and the financial business. I doubt that’s very wise because you can’t solve the problems without people that have an understanding of how it works and where the bodies are (If you remember the RTC was staffed with S&L people who got us in the fix in the first place because they were the ones who knew how to fix the fix).
    Non-payment of taxes (Rangel, Daschle, Geithner, of course, and now Pete Stark (D-Calif), and a couple of other Dems, who are trying to claim to be Maryland Residents in order to qualify for Homestead Credits on property taxes) leads to the charge that Liberals love taxes as long as they don’t have to pay them.
    And Nancy Pelosi’s (of Air Force fame) vendetta against the ICI cracking down on illegals may come to haunt her at a time of hogh domestic unemployment.
    My major point is that the honeymoon is over, and there is a short time left for the Dems to get their act together. Never mind Bush and the mess he supposedly left them, it’s their watch now and so far they don’t appear to be up to it. 2010 could very well be another seminal change in Cogressional control, and Dodd could very well be swept away.

  4. “He was inspiring back then,” said Mr. Beers, 41, a lifelong Democrat who is unemployed. “Now, he’s a dinosaur. There needs to be a change.”

    But will Mr. Beers vote Republican? Probably not.

    Recall the memorable scene from “Bulworth:”

    Angry black woman: Are you sayin’ the Democratic Party don’t care about the African-American community?

    Bullworth: Isn’t that OBVIOUS? You got half your kids are out of work and the other half are in jail. Do you see ANY Democrat doing anything about it? Certainly not me! So what’re you gonna do, vote Republican? Come on! Come on, you’re not gonna vote Republican! Let’s call a spade a spade!

    [Loud, angry booing]

    Bullworth: I mean – come on! You can have a Billion Man March! If you don’t put down that malt liquor and chicken wings, and get behind someone other than a running back who stabs his wife, you’re NEVER gonna get rid of somebody like me!

  5. Weicker Liker

    Sam Caligiuri has beaten Rob Simmons to the punch..

    Caligiuri has filed with the Federal Election Commission.

    Name of his entity is “Caligiuri For U.S. Senate” and its Treasurer is William Kolo of Southington.

    Kolo has served as Caliguiri’s Treasurer for State Senate in the past.

    Interesting, the Campaign lists Keith Davis as Assistant Treasurer.

    Davis works “Huckaby Davis Lisker”, an Alexandria, VA based political accounting firm representing political action committees for Republican Party candidates and entities.

    Davis is a heavy hitter.

  6. These guys can’t even get their tax policy right. AIG is the bad guy, but they’ll let Merrill Lynch skate?

    NYT’s story here.

  7. Caligiuri has filed with the Federal Election Commission.

    Seeing as how that is equal to forming an exploratory committee, I’m a bit shocked this wasn’t public. What is your source?

  8. These guys can’t even get their tax policy right. AIG is the bad guy, but they’ll let Merrill Lynch skate?

    More finger pointing. I think the public is going to get real tired of all this bumbling.
    http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-dodd-enfield-webmar21,0,5858344.story

  9. AndersonScooper

    Yay! A GOP primary!

    That’s Dodd’s best news of the month…

    Thanks to Sam Caligula and his over-sized ego! Thanks to the GOP’s young turkeys!

    Let’s have that internal debate over the Bush tax cuts, over global warming, over the minimum wage, and abortion, and Bush’s foreign policy, and affirmative action, and guns, gays, federal regulation, torture, supply-side economics, you name it.

    Here’s hoping Jack Dobbs’ guy wins!

  10. Weicker Liker

    Scanman1722…

    My source is the Federal Election Commission Website..

    I just checked again, and Sam Caligiguri has also filed a Statement Of Candidacy.

    There is a letter attached that essentially says Caligiuri has not made a final decision regarding his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

    He indicated he will exceed the $5,000 threshold while “exploring” his candidacy with Connecticut Voters.

    Here is the link

    http://images.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?S0CT00094

    Sounds to me he is in the game. He has DC heavy hitter ready to manage his fundraising accounting.

  11. Yay! A GOP primary!

    Amen to that. Nothing like making a candidate veer to the right to spell general election doom in a blue state.

  12. Republitarian

    Oh please CT GOP whatever you do don’t run that has been Simmons against Dodd or some other Dem hack.
    We need some new blood for crying out loud!
    Caligiuri would be ok but a wonderful possibility is Peter Schiff.
    Just get someone who is bright and new and capable and understands the Constitution and monetary policy.
    Please Please Please.

  13. Walker in 06489

    Dodd cannot expect to hide this from the people of Connecticut or the nation. Elections are coming buddy, and you’re on your way out, especially if Senator Sam runs against you!

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