Dodd Challenges McCain on Iraq

By Ed O'Keefe

Apr 11, 2007 2:20pm

ABC News’ Donna Hunter reports: In a Wednesday evening address in Iowa, Senator Chris Dodd, D-Conn., plans to sharply contrast potential Republican rival and fellow Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., on the subject of Iraq.

In prepared remarks obtained by ABC News, the Connecticut Democrat challenges McCain, who has tied his White House hopes to a stay-the-course strategy in Iraq, saying, "No one questions Senator McCain’s patriotism.  He is a war hero and a friend.  But, like the President, he is wrong."

Dodd will go on to say, in prepared remarks, "McCain’s market visit makes clear the point many of us have made for some time.  We don’t need a surge of troops in Iraq – we need a surge of diplomacy.  The Bush/McCain Doctrine is not succeeding, it is failing."

Although this is not Dodd’s first visit to the first in the nation caucus state, it will be the first time he lays out a comprehensive foreign policy plan. 

Speaking before the U.S. Center for Citizens for Diplomacy in downtown Des Moines, Dodd will be call for support from all of the candidates in supporting legislation which sets a firm timetable withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by March 31, 2008. 

Senator Dodd is, at present, the only presidential candidate co-sponsoring the bill which was introduced in the Senate by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senator Russ Feingold, D-Wis., who last year ruled out a White House bid of his own.

Dodd’s speech will also focus on recognizing the need for experienced leadership — a trait, no doubt, the Senator believes he has earned during five terms in the Senate — and energy independence.

After Wedneday’s address, the Senator continues a ‘kitchen table tour’ across Iowa, speaking to local families about their concerns.  These small kitchen table stops will continue throughout each of the early primary states, giving the relatively unknown national candidate, much needed name and face time. 

This weekend Dodd takes his campaign far from Iowa kitchen tables to Las Vegas, where he will dine with local fire fighters in the state wedged between the all-important Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary next January.

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