Chris Dodd Goes 'On the Record'

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This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," January 2, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Now the Iowa caucus starts in less than 20 hours, and no one knows who is going to win. Senator and Presidential candidate Chris Dodd wants to spoil the expectations of the three Democratic front-runners.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Senator, tomorrow night's the big night.


VAN SUSTEREN: So tell me, what do you do between now and then?

DODD: Well, we're still in the process of doing 28 events in 26 cities over five days, and so this morning I as in Ames, Iowa in Story County. I'm now going in Ida, and then to Tama and Burlington, and then back to Iowa City tonight. One more event tomorrow in Iowa City, and then coming back to Des Moines and doing some press interviews and getting ready for the results tomorrow night.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, 7:00 where will you be tomorrow night?

DODD: 07:00, I'll be at a precinct. We rented a house out here the last couple of months, and a good friend of mine is taking me to the precinct in our neighborhood, so I can get a chance to meet some of the people on their way in. I will not go into the precinct obviously, and then I'll be at the little house we've rented to wait for the results.

VAN SUSTEREN: This is a whole other way to sort of look at democracy, isn't it?

DODD: It is.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I mean, it's exciting, but I suppose I have a different perspective than you do.

DODD: A little bit, I mean, being in the middle of it here. The difference between the bacon and the eggs, I guess. One's committed and the other's involved. And so we're deeply involved and committed both to it here. And it's been wonderful. Iowans are terrific. They're very hospitable, warm, ask a lot of great questions. They do what no other group of Americans get to do, and that is get to know us very, very well.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's the question that's stunned you. Any Questions from any Iowan?

DODD: Not so much Iowans. I mean, the questions that have stunned me have been some of the national media. You know, have you seen any UFO's? And we haven't had much of a conversation about some of the other issues that we would like to talk about, and most Iowans ask pretty good questions in these house parties and townhall meeting. In my case, I do about four a day, usually about an hour and a half to two hours a piece, and it can be as little or five or 10 people, or it can 200 people in a room. And they really bore in. The Constitution, I must say, has become a huge issue.


DODD: Yes. I'm very surprised. I went back and spent 11 hours on the floor of the Senate opposing that Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, because of the inclusion of that retroactive immunity for the phone companies that the Bush administration wanted to give. And I was surprised coming back how many Iowans paid attention to it, and how many stopped me and said we really appreciate you going back and standing up for the Constitution.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you mentioned that in your book. You talked about the Constitution in your new book.

DODD: Yes, I did, but I didn't think it — it wasn't an issue. I mean, people talk about other questions. The other issue that happened a week and a half ago is that you could almost feel the physical results of the event, and that was the assassination of Benazair Bhutto, where that event caused a lot of pause here. I think began to think, you know, these foreign policy issues do require people with real experience in this area. Having spent 26 years on the Foreign Relations Committee and having served in the Peace Corps, I've been in the military. People are saying, you know, I want a candidate I think who can handle this.

We remember George Bush being asked some six years ago what he thought or who was the head of Pakistan. He said some general. We all found that amusing. Today we don't find it amusing. We expect our candidates and our presidents to be well-versed and well aware when these problems emerge. Who do you want in that seat in the Oval Office when the unexpected event happens, as they will. We want people there, I think, now who have background to demonstrate experience producing results, working with Democrats and Republicans.

And lastly, I must tell you, Greta, the demonization in politics has really turned off people, in this state and elsewhere. This idea of these Hatfield and McCoys screaming at each other and not really getting much done for people in this country is really a huge issue.


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