Senator Chris Dodd Endorses Barack Obama for President
Cleveland, OH - Today, at a press conference in Cleveland, Ohio, United States Senator Christopher Dodd endorsed Barack Obama for president.
Below is Senator Dodd's statement:
"I am here to express my strong support for the candidacy of Barack Obama. This is a moment of unity in our country, a time where we need to come together as a Democratic party and to get behind a candidacy that expresses the aspirations, the hopes, the ambitions of millions and millions of Americans. And I believe that Barack Obama has demonstrated that not only in the campaign, but also in his service to his state and his country.
"Four years ago, we met a man who refused to resign himself to fear. A man who reminded us that all of us -- red states and blue states, white and black and Latino and Asian - are united by far more than that which divides us. In debates, in town hall meetings, before unprecedented crowds in rural Iowa and Virginia, he called us to share in our sacrifice. He told us uncomfortable truths yet inspired us as so many of our greatest leaders have with new faith in the promise of America.
"The question has always been the same: "Yes, but is he ready?" Since that time, he has been poked and prodded, analyzed and criticized, called too green, too trusting, too lofty. And for all of that, he's already won half of our nation's states and primaries and caucuses and the votes of more than 10 million Americans, showing judgment, grace and poise in the process.
"Over all that time, I've been watching, on the Foreign Relations Committee, on the Labor Committee in which we served, and as a fellow candidate for the presidency of the United States. I'm proud to be the first 2008 presidential candidate to endorse Barack Obama. He is ready to be President.
"Over the last number of years I've listened to people talk about ‘Reagan Democrats.' I now stand next to a candidate where we talk about ‘Obama Republicans' because his appeal is reaching far beyond the politics of our own party. It is reaching into circles of Independents, Republicans, who are desirous and anxious for change.
"And so having been an individual involved in the Family and Medical Leave Act, involved in family issues, I am completely convinced that Barack Obama will stand up for American families and make a difference. Having served on the Foreign Relations Committee, having been a Peace Corps volunteer, I am convinced that Barack Obama will make a difference when it comes to the international politics of our nation, to develop a kind of support we need to deal with global terrorism and to end the terrible war in Iraq.
"I'm also convinced as a former Peace Corps volunteer that Barack Obama will appeal and excite the imagination of younger people, to stand up and contribute, to give something back to our country. Barack pointed out how I was inspired by a former American president. I've been asked a million times over the last forty years why I joined the Peace Corps. I did because an American president asked me to. I think today we are witnessing across this country that people are asking for leadership to ask them to be involved in things larger than themselves. And this candidacy of Barack Obama inspires that.
"When I was in the Peace Corps, I was asked over and over again by the people of the little village of Monción in the Dominican Republic where I served as a volunteer. The Spanish question was "¿Por que viniste? Por que viniste a Moncion?" "Why did you come to Moncion?" The answer I gave over and over again was someone had asked me to, to make a difference.
"The question may be asked this morning here in Ohio and in Texas. ¿Por que viniste Cleveland or Texas? And the answer I'll give is because someone asked me to. Someone who wants to make a difference for our country. Someone who wants to see get America back on its feet again. To become strong and vibrant again. To become young again. To be full of confidence and optimism as we face the challenges, significant challenges, at home and abroad. I believe that individual who can make that difference is the man standing next to me, the next President of the United States, and I'm honored to stand with him in this effort."
Below is Senator Obama's statement:
"It has been my pleasure to serve alongside Chris Dodd in the United States Senate and share a stage with him during his principled run for the presidency. Chris Dodd loves his country - and believes in the ideal of public service - as much as anyone I know. From his years as a young Peace Corps worker in the 1960s to this very day, Senator Dodd has devoted his life to building a stronger, fairer, healthier America; and a more just and secure world.
"Whether it was his work to protect voting rights; his long, determined battle for the Family and Medical Leave Act; his leadership on U.S. relations with Latin America; or his defense of our Constitution - Chris Dodd has been at the forefront of some of the most important issues of our time. He has worked hard to preserve the right of workers to organize despite an onslaught from a hostile administration. He has been an advocate for our children, and no one has fought harder to improve our schools. He has been a voice for unity amid the often bitter debate over immigration reform. And I have seen firsthand on the Foreign Relations Committee his commitment to restoring our standing in the world.
"But as passionate as Chris Dodd is about the causes he champions, he also has that rare ability to disagree without being disagreeable. He is respected on both sides of the aisle for his authenticity, reason, and civility. And that is how, time and again, he's been able to bring Democrats and Republicans together to make a real difference in the lives of the American people.
"He conducted his campaign for President with that same character. He resisted the cheap and easy shots, and elevated the debate with important ideas about how to address the great challenges we face. He and I share a deep commitment to take our country in a new direction, and I am grateful for his endorsement."