Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 562
Senator and presidential candidate Chris Dodd brought his "River to River" tour of Iowa to a close yesterday with a rally on the banks of the Missouri River in Council Bluffs.
After pulling in to the rally in a huge blue bus specially painted to promote his latest Iowa campaign swing, Dodd took the stage to enthusiastic applause under a blistering sun while Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" played over the P.A. system. After an introduction by Iowa Senate Majority Leader and Council Bluffs native Mike Gronstal, Dodd addressed the crowd of 500 from Iowa and neighboring Nebraska for about 10 minutes.
In a hoarse voice worn by a week of stumping from one side of the state to the other, Dodd repeated a refrain now familiar from all the Democratic candidates about the important role Iowans have in determining the next president and the seriousness with which they approach this responsibility, and went on to stress the importance of the issues at stake in next year's elections.
Regarding Iraq, Dodd said, "I believe we ought to begin redeploying tonight. There is no military solution in Iraq. We ought to be looking for a diplomatic solution. We ought to get our troops back home, and I'm going to be fighting for that, not only in the Senate, but also as a candidate for president." Noting the link between America's dependence on foreign oil and the U.S. military commitments required to assure access to that oil, Dodd added, "If they were growing turnips in Iraq, we wouldn't be there."
Dodd also made a nod to the Live Earth events taking place that day, saying "there is no more important issue than getting rid of global warming." Dodd also made brief mention of the importance of health care and education.
"I ask for your help and support in all of this," Dodd continued. "I'm not as well known and maybe as well financed as some of the others. But I believe that Iowans take their time and listen to each one of us who seek your support. You've got a wonderful habit over the years of deciding for yourselves who'll be the Democratic nominee, not based on money, not based on celebrity, but our passion, our commitment to putting this country on the right track again. And I offer myself as a candidate who will put America back on track both at home and abroad, and will make a difference. And I think you're going to give me a chance to make that case."
Summing up, Dodd asserted that there are no one-party solutions to the challenges confronting the country, and that he believes he has the leadership to bring people together. "I think we want to be one country again. I think we want to be asked to do big things for the world.
"I don't believe in mincing words, half-measures and platitudes," Dodd concluded. "I'm 63 years of age; I'm not going to do this twice. I know who I am, I know what I care about, and I know how to get the job done."
Having made his pitch, Dodd went on to introduce legendary singer/songwriter Paul Simon, who played a four song acoustic set of "Sounds of Silence," "Loves Me Like a Rock," "The Boxer," and "Me and Julio Down by the School Yard."
"It's been such a pleasure to me to be traveling around the state of Iowa for the last two days - an absolute gift. Thank you so much," Simon said after concluding his set. Chris Dodd having taken the stage once more, Simon went on, "I'm so proud to stand next to a friend of mine who is running for the President of the United States, and deserves to be elected. It's incredible."
The Dodd campaign has posted video of the event on its web site.