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Harkin: Dodd should be Obama’s VP choice
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin says he’s an unabashed supporter of U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., as Barack Obamaâ€™s running mate. Meanwhile, Harkin, who ran for the presidency himself in 1992, says “realism” holds that Hillary Clinton has little chance of making the cut for vice presidential candidate as “latent” sexism and racism would give such a ticket perhaps too steep a cultural hill to climb.
Obama, a U.S. senator from Illinois and the Democratic presidential candidate, has yet to make the vice presidential candidate decision, but with the Democratic National Convention starting in a week, the choice is imminent. Harkin elaborated on his pitch for Dodd during an interview with Iowa Independent over the weekend.
â€œDodd is my No. 1 pick but I donâ€™t know where itâ€™s going,â€ Harkin said.
During the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Des Moines in late 2007, the Iowa Independent noticed the connection between Dodd and Obama and listed Dodd at the top of a running mate ranking story.
Harkin said veteran legislator Dodd knows how to move bills through Congress, which will be important to an Obama administration facing international issues.
â€œHeâ€™s going to need a vice president that can help him get his legislative package through the Congress,â€ Harkin said. â€œAnd I canâ€™t think of anyone who can do it better than Chris Dodd.â€
Another big consideration, Harkin said, is that Dodd is well-liked by Republicans and Democrats.
â€œHe knows how to work across party lines as evidenced by the fact that he just got this big foreclosure bill done,â€ Harkin said.
Harkin said Dodd also would be a major asset for the Obama campaign in the Latino-rich Southwest â€” a region many analysts believe will be decisive in the presidential race.
â€œHe (Dodd) speaks fluent Spanish,â€ Harkin said. â€œThe Hispanic community loves him. That would be a great outreach for Barack Obama.â€
Dodd developed his Spanish-language skills during a stint in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic as a young man. During one campaign stop in Carroll as a presidential candidate last fall, Dodd conducted a video-taped bilingual interview with the Daily Times Herald and La Prensa, a Carroll-based Western Iowa Spanish-language newspaper.
In terms of other candidates thought to be in the Obama veepstakes, Harkin said he strongly doubts U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton will be the vice presidential selection.
â€œItâ€™s realism,â€ Harkin said. â€œI know full well that if Hillary had gotten the nomination she would never have picked Obama, and if he gets it, heâ€™s not going to pick her for a very simple reason: thereâ€™s a lot of latent racism and sexism in this country. Itâ€™s hard enough for a woman to win. Then if you add an African American on the ticket, or vice versa, if you have an African-American running and you add a woman on, you add racism and sexism together. Thatâ€™s a pretty steep hill to climb.â€