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Chris Dodd

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Plastic Surgery.

“‘This is landmark legislation that is going to make the credit card marketplace more transparent and more fair for millions of consumers,’ said Travis B. Plunkett, legislative director for the Consumer Federation of America. ‘In particular, it’s going to prevent credit card companies from suddenly and unjustly increasing interest rates which is pushing many consumers with credit card debt into bankruptcy.’” The Senate passes legislation aimed at reining in the more blatant and arbitrary instances of credit card usury by a vote of 90-5, with a bill expected on President Obama’s desk by Memorial Day.

This sounds like a clear step in the right direction…but funny how times change, isn’t it? It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that many of these same Senators passed the 2005 bankruptcy bill, which dug the financial hole deeper for millions of Americans in the name of an easy buck for the credit card industry. Better late than never, I suppose.

To live inside the law, you must be honest.

“In the lower courts, according to a study Professor Long published in the Washington & Lee Law Review last year, Mr. Dylan is by far the most cited songwriter. He has been quoted in 26 opinions. Paul Simon is next, with 8 (12 if you count those attributed to Simon & Garfunkel). Bruce Springsteen has 5.

With great lawyers, you have discussed lepers and crooks: By way of Ted at the Late Adopter, the NYT examines Chief Justice Roberts’ use of Dylan in court opinions. “Mr. Dylan has only once before been cited as an authority on Article III standing, which concerns who can bring a lawsuit in federal court…The larger objection is that the citation is not true to the original point Mr. Dylan was making, which was about the freedom that having nothing conveys and not about who may sue a phone company.

Ok, ok, we need oversight.

“‘Our current regulatory structure was not built to address the modern financial system with its diversity of market participants, innovation, complexity of financial instruments, convergence of financial intermediaries and trading platforms, global integration and interconnectedness among financial institutions, investors and markets,’ Paulson said this morning.” Stick a fork in free market fundamentalism: In light of recent economic events, Dubya Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson proposes a massive overhaul of the nation’s regulatory apparatus. The plan, which among other things bolsters the powers of the Fed and phases out the SEC, isn’t getting the most favorable reception from Dems thus far. Said Chris Dodd: “Regrettably, the Administration’s blueprint, while deserving of careful consideration, would do little if anything to alleviate the current crisis — which was brought on by a failure of will.” Still, with even Team Dubya and its allies signing off on the need for it, regulatory reform of Wall Street and financial markets looks to be on the table to stay, one way or another.

Dodd and Leahy: Wake up, it’s over.

“I think the race has been determined, anyway, at this point. I think it’s very difficult to imagine how anyone can believe that Barack Obama can’t be the nominee of the party. I think that’s a foregone conclusion, in my view, at this juncture given where things are. But certainly over the next couple of weeks, as we get into April, it seems to me then, that the national leadership of this party has to stand up and reach a conclusion.” Senator and former presidential candidate Chris Dodd makes the case that the Democratic race shouldn’t go past May 6 (i.e. North Carolina and Indiana.)

Update: “There is no way that Senator Clinton is going to win enough delegates to get the nomination. She ought to withdraw and she ought to be backing Senator Obama.” Sen. Patrick Leahy reaffirms Dodd’s position on Vermont public radio. He later clarified with a written statement: “The bottom line is that…Senator Obama continues to hold a lead that appears to be insurmountable…Senator Clinton has every right, but not a very good reason, to remain a candidate for as long as she wants to.

FMLA came first.

“By now, we all know how over-hyped are Hillary claims about her foreign policy experience – including her claims that she negotiated peace treaties and opened borders. But there’s also hype in her claims about domestic policy.” Some enterprising dKos’ers look at the timeline and find Sen. Clinton had basically nothing to do with passing the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The bill, originally penned in 1986 by Sen. Chris Dodd, had already been passed and vetoed twice under Papa Bush. It was then set up to go by the Democratic Congress upon Clinton’s entering office (it was HR.1 and S. 1 respectively), and was signed into law, as a fait accompli, only sixteen days after inauguration day.

Update: Former House member William Lacey Clay notes: “‘She never had anything to with it. I just don’t think you ought to play games with that kind of stuff.’

Dodd Comes Forward.

“I’m deeply proud to be the first 2008 Democratic presidential candidate to endorse Barack Obama,” he added. “He is ready to be president. And I am ready to support him — to work with him and for him and help elect him our 44th president.” The beginning of the end? The end of the beginning? Senator and former presidential candidate Chris Dodd endorses Barack Obama. “It’s now the hour to come together. This is the moment for Democrats and independents and others to come together, to get behind this candidacy.” As I said in my pre-Iowa endorsement, Dodd was always my favorite of the “second tier,” as it were, and I’m very glad he’s decided to swing behind Sen. Obama. This isn’t as big as Ted Kennedy, but, in terms of its symbolic import, it’s bigger than most.

Asked why now, Dodd said: “‘I don’t want a campaign that is only divisive here, and there’s a danger of it becoming that. Not because the candidates want that, but too often the advisors the consultants others are seeking for that divisiveness.‘”

Of the veepstakes: “Who would want to be vice president? I’d rather be chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

Regarding Sen. Clinton’s reaction: “‘She was as gracious as she could be,’ he said, noting she was ‘obviously disappointed, maybe even something beyond disappointment,’ but that she appreciated the call.”Update: Is Richardson next? And will John Lewis now formally switch?

The Heads Convene.

“At a private dinner that Mr. Edwards, a former senator, held at his home last Saturday for a dozen close friends, he said he had spoken recently with Mr. Gore about the benefits of neutrality, someone who was at the dinner said…Mr. Edwards said he intended to remain on the fence for the time being, the person said.” It looks possible no more major endorsements will be in the offing for either Democratic candidate. Perhaps noticing the daunting math that faces Sen. Clinton’s campaign, the big undeclared Dems seem to be envisioning themselves instead as much-needed brokers of the peace. “A number of senior Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and three candidates who have dropped out of the 2008 race, former Senator John Edwards and Senators Christopher J. Dodd and Joseph R. Biden Jr., have spoken with Mr. Gore in recent days. None have endorsed a candidate, although Ms. Pelosi made comments on Friday that were widely seen as supportive of Mr. Obama when it came to the process the party should use to make its choice of candidate.

C’mon aboard, you won’t hurt the horse.

It’s the Friday before Super Tuesday, and no Edwards and no Gore…yet (and neither look to be choosing before Tuesday, if at all.) But some other big endorsements for Obama this morning:

  • Move On votes to endorse Obama, and will encourage its 1.7 million members in Super Tuesday states to follow suit. The movement said recently they’d back a primary candidate if two-thirds of their members agreed on one. “The vote favored Senator Obama to Senator Clinton by 70.4% to 29.6%.” Says Obama: “In just a few years, the members of MoveOn have once again demonstrated that real change comes not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up…I thank them for their support and look forward to working with their members in the weeks and months ahead.

  • The California SEIU, 650,000 strong, has switched from Edwards to Obama. “Obama’s pledge to ensure working families have a strong voice, that health care is not a luxury and that our children are given the tools to succeed best represents the values that our members care about,” said Annelle Grajeda, president of the SEIU California State Council.

  • CT Rep. Rosa DeLauro endorses Obama tomorrow, which is a big deal because she’s higher-profile in DC than most (her husband is also former Clinton pollster Stan Greenberg.) That being said, Connecticut’s biggest prize, Chris Dodd, is announcing today that he staying neutral.

  • Perhaps eyeing a Harlem rout for Obama, Charlie Rangel’s wife, Alma Rangel, endorses Obama for president. “I believe Barack Obama has the ability to unify this country and the character to stand up for what’s right instead of what’s popular. Barack is a man of principle, a man whose faith in the greatness of our nation gives us hope, showing us what’s possible if we work together.

  • ABT principal ballerina Gillian Murphy endorses Obama for president. Good goin’, little sis.

  • The Yale Daily News foregoes their famous alumni and — like the Harvard Crimson — decides to back Obama. “[T]he time has come to abdicate Yalie rule over America, at least for now…An Obama presidency promises a reassertion of the natural, American optimism for which JFK stood, but also new reforms of which he could only have dreamt. Let us not let this moment slip away.

  • George Clooney, already an Obama backer, speaks well of his candidate, but seems gunshy to stump for him (for legitimate reasons).

  • California’s Asianweek backs Obama: “A native Hawaiian, Obama’s personal and political background reflects the multicultural future of America. The energy Obama has ignited among young Asian Pacific American activists is unprecedented for presidential politics and could pave the way for future APA involvement.

  • Word is that Bill Richardson won’t endorse anyone until after February 5. Given that my sense is he leans Clinton (although others argue he just wants a job either way), this is good news for Obama. Update: Bill and Bill will be Superbowl buddies. Doesn’t sound like he’s heading Obama’s way.

  • ‘This week helped me make up my mind between two great candidates – that I was going to be supporting Sen. Obama,’ Blumenauer said.” And other House endorsements of the past few days: “Reps. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president Friday…Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) all announced their backing for Obama on Thursday. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) endorsed him on Wednesday. All of their states except Oregon will vote Tuesday in the so-called ‘national primary.‘”

  • The Senate Lions Withdraw.

    “I count the past year as one of the most rewarding in a career of public service. Unfortunately I am withdrawing from the campaign today.” Obama aside, last night’s results have spurred two very worthwhile Democratic candidates to close up shop: Chris Dodd and Joe Biden. Of course, this is by no means the end for these two…They have some serious work cut out for them in the Senate these days. (As for Bill Richardson, he says his 2% finish in Iowa puts him in “the Final Four,” and he plans to stay in for now. Well, given his low numbers in Nevada and elsewhere, he’s not exactly George Mason.)

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