- The Washington Times - Friday, January 12, 2007

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd announced a 2008 presidential run yesterday, saying Americans were desperate for the type of experience and leadership he could provide.

The Connecticut Democrat and five-term Senate veteran said “a sense of urgency” about the problems facing the United States persuaded him to enter the race. He is the fourth Democrat to formally declare his candidacy.

“People have a broad sense of unease about the future, and I think there is a desperate appetite for leadership,” Mr. Dodd told Reuters.

“They really want to hear some honest talk about what we have to deal with, and big solutions to big problems,” he said. “I decided to jump in and be part of the debate.”

Mr. Dodd, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee who is little known outside Connecticut, said he had time to make headway in what could be a star-studded field led by Democratic Senate colleagues Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois.

“I realize I’m running behind and that other people are better known, but we could be talking about this race a year from today and still be weeks away from the first caucus,” he said.

“There is a huge amount of time for me to make my case and try to be heard,” said Mr. Dodd, who has about $5 million from his Senate account to move to a presidential campaign.

He enters a Democratic presidential field with three declared candidates — former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio — and more expected in the next few weeks, including early favorites Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama.

Mr. Dodd, who considered a White House bid in 2004 but decided against it, announced his candidacy on the “Imus in the Morning” radio show just hours after President Bush’s national address on Iraq.

The senator said he opposed Mr. Bush’s plan to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq and favored a Senate vote on reauthorizing the U.S. military effort. Mr. Dodd voted in 2002 to authorize the Iraq invasion but has since called the vote a mistake.

“We have an obligation in Congress, particularly as Democrats who regained control in November, to offer more than nonbinding resolutions and rhetorical flourishes,” he said.

The authorization would not cut funds to troops already in the field, he said, but would be aimed at those additional troops being sent under Mr. Bush’s new plan.

“You make it quite clear this is about sending people into that war zone, and I think it’s essential that we find a way to do that or we’re going to look anemic,” Mr. Dodd said.

He planned a trip later yesterday to Iowa, which holds the traditional kickoff contest in the nominating race, and also planned visits to the early voting states of South Carolina and New Hampshire.

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