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Dodd tells crowd in Rochester impeaching Cheney won't help

Fosters.com | June 26, 2007
ADAM D. KRAUSS

ROCHESTER Appearing before at least 60 voters at the Governor's Inn on Sunday, presidential candidate Chris Dodd said he "understands the appetite" of people wanting to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney, but he doesn't think the long process would help the country.

"There are too many other issues out there the American public were hoping Democrats would decide to address and focus on. That's the choice you make. Others may make a different focus. My choice would be to focus on other agenda items," he said.

The crowd did not erupt into applause as it did after many of the other things the longtime Democratic U.S. senator from Connecticut had to say.

Dodd was responding to a multipart question about whether Cheney has the responsibility to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, whether he was doing it and, if not, what's the next step.

Cheney's "not been upholding it as well as he could," the candidate said.

Cheney made headlines recently after revelations he claimed that he, as president of the Senate, and his office are exempt from a requirement requiring executive branch offices to disclose information on classified or declassified material.

"Obviously he's part of it," Dodd said, seated beside Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, a city resident, and in front of five American flags.

Dodd's appearance came on the heels of his Saturday announcement of his American Community initiative plan, which would mandate community service for all high school students, double the size of the Peace Corps and expand AmeriCorps.

Dodd, a Peace Corps graduate, didn't talk much of the plan Sunday, but he said he wants "every American in the next generation to have served their country in one way or another ... and as president I'm going to invite every single American, on a daily basis, to be part of the shared experience of rebuilding America."

He said it's part of getting to what former President Bill Clinton, husband of one of Dodd's rivals, called a "more perfect union."

Throughout his visit, Dodd spoke of restoring the United States' moral authority by, among others, bringing back habeas corpus and ending torture. He said it's time diplomacy, which is "not a sign of weakness," again trumps military force as a president's first option.

Dodd, who stayed at the inn the previous night, said his campaign was "a lot about hope, a lot about competence, a lot of doing and getting it right." He said he wanted to give the next generation, including his young daughters, a better future.

To buttress his case, Dodd shared an anecdote about the birth of his daughter, Grace, who was delivered 48 hours after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. She was born at a hospital in Arlington, Va., where Dodd said he could see the Pentagon still smoldering.

"I went through that roller-coaster ride of emotions, of watching your first born arrive and also looking out the window and wondering what kind of a country, what kind of a world is she going to grow up in if we don't do a better job of getting this right again," he said.

When it comes to energy, Dodd said he wants to "charge those who pollute" and favors a "corporate carbon tax" as the best way to advance alternative energy.

He said the taxes received would go to expediting the technology to help the United States become energy independent, defeat global warming, improve national security, and provide tax relief to families "who like" environmentally friendly appliances but can't afford them today.

And to those who will say the idea is too costly, the longtime U.S. senator from Connecticut reminded voters of the $300 billion presently spent annually for foreign oil, about one-third of which goes to nations "very hostile to our interests."

He asked, "Which would you rather do tax and get $50 billion and move as quickly to alternative technologies and fuels or continue, year in and year out, to be subsidizing countries who don't have our best interests at heart, who continue to pollute the environment, put our health at risk and endanger our national security?

"A corporate carbon tax is going to be necessary," he said to resounding applause.

Though Iraq didn't play as predominately at the hour-plus event as some expected, Dodd said it's long overdue that America "get out of Iraq militarily." He said it can be done in a "relatively safe fashion" over the next six to eight months. Dodd reaffirmed his support for universal health care where "everyone participates, everyone benefits" and healthy lifestyles are rewarded.

He also threw his support behind organized labor, saying without it the life expectancy of Americans would not be 30 years longer today than a century ago.

Dodd acknowledged he's not as "well-heeled" or "well known" as his Democratic rivals, but he said he trusted New Hampshire voters to make independent, informed decisions.

"You have a habit in this state of proving pundits wrong time after time ... people in New Hampshire love to say 'we'll make up our own mind about candidates, we'll decide,'" he said.

The 2008 contest is the "critical election of our lifetime," when the stakes have "never been higher," Dodd said to current and past legislators, activists and others frequently seen at candidates' visits.

Dodd said electing a Democratic Congress in 2008 is just as important as getting a Democratic president in the White House.

He predicted a tough re-election campaign for Shea-Porter, who is in her first term in the House. "We have to do everything we can to make sure she has the resources to fight back. They will come after her tooth and nail, believe me," he said.

 

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