Dodd, Christopher J. 1944- (Christopher John Dodd)

views updated

Dodd, Christopher J. 1944- (Christopher John Dodd)

PERSONAL:

Born May 27, 1944, in Willimantic, CT; son of Thomas J. (a politician) and Grace Dodd; married Jackie Marie Clegg, 1999; children: Grace, Christina. Education: Providence College, B.A.; University of Louisville, J.D, 1972. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Roman Catholic.

ADDRESSES:

Office—U.S. Senate, 448 Russell Senate Bldg., Washington, DC 20510-0001; Putnam Park, 100 Great Meadow Rd., Wethersfield, CT 06109. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Attorney, politician, and author. Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic, 1966-68; admitted to the Bar of Connecticut, 1973; Suisman, Shapiro, Wool & Brennan (law firm), New London, CT, attorney, 1973-74; U.S. Congressman representing Second District of Connecticut, 1975-80; U.S. Senator representing Connecticut, beginning 1981. Member, Democratic National Committee. Military service: U.S. Army National Guard, 1969-75.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Hubert H. Humphrey Public Service award, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute; Outstanding U.S. Senator award; Nathan Davis award, American Medical Association; Senator of Decade award, Head Start; Excellence in Public Service award, American Academy of Pediatrics, 1987; High Tech Legislator of the Year, Information Technology Industry Council, 2000; Congressional Recognition award, International Association of Fire Fighters, 2001; National Family Week award, Alliance for Children and Families, 2002; Gerald Solomon Legislator of the Year award, Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, 2002.

WRITINGS:

Letters from Nuremberg: My Father's Narrative of a Quest for Justice, Crown (New York, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Christopher J. Dodd has enjoyed a successful political career as a Democratic congressman and senator from Connecticut. Elected to three terms to the U.S. House of Representatives and to the Senate five times since he won the 1980 election, he was also the youngest person to be elected to national office from his state. Dodd is the son of another Connecticut senator, Thomas J. Dodd, who unfortunately did not have as long a run in office as his son did. The senior Dodd was accused of misusing campaign funds and, in 1967, was censured by his fellow senators. Although protesting his innocence, Thomas Dodd lost his 1970 bid for reelection and died a year later of a heart attack. His family felt that his death was caused in part by the stress he endured from the accusations about campaign funds. Thomas Dodd had led an honorable career to that point, but compared to an earlier role he played in life, his later political career seemed to pale. Thomas Dodd was a key player in the Nuremburg trials in which numerous German Nazis were accused of heinous war crimes. It was for his role as a prosecuting attorney in the trials—assisting Associate Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson—that the senior Dodd is best remembered. Christopher Dodd provides readers with much greater insights into what happened in Nuremberg with Letters from Nuremberg: My Father's Narrative of a Quest for Justice, which collects the approximately three hundred letters that Thomas Dodd wrote to his wife, Grace, during the trials. The letters were discovered many years after Thomas Dodd's death, and they show that the prosecution of the Nazis was a complicated affair.

During the trial, Jackson proved himself to be "lackluster" in his "cross-examination skills," as a Kirkus Reviews writer reported. His lack of prowess in taking the offensive against the accused Nazis' defense put their prosecution at risk; Dodd, however, was much more eloquent and was able to perforate the defense and, as revealed in the letters, complained against "trial judge Francis Biddle for ‘doing the Nazi handiwork now.’" Dodd's letters cover many aspects of the trial, including the debriefing sessions and, according to critics, insightful observations about the accused Nazis. Hermann Goering, the former head of Germany's air force, was particularly difficult to cross examine, for he had a brilliant, misguided intellect. A few Nazis, however, were undeserving of prosecution, according to Dodd, who noted one general who was not considered to be a Nazi insider. Critics of Letters from Nuremberg appraised the letter collection as a valuable addition to this chapter of history, also praising the skill with which Dodd writes. A Publishers Weekly contributor considered Dodd's descriptions of the imprisoned Nazis to be "evocative," adding that the book "must be considered an essential addition to Nuremberg studies." The Kirkus Reviews critic lauded the work as "a timely reminder that the rule of law, not vengeance, must apply, no matter how heinous the crime."

Christopher Dodd published Letters from Nuremberg in an effort to repair some of the damage done to his father's reputation. It was his father's sense of justice that inspired the younger Dodd to go into politics. His first work out of undergraduate school was as a Peace Corps volunteer, and he spent two years in the Dominican Republic during the late 1960s. After serving in the National Guard, completing a law degree, and working in a Connecticut law firm, he won the seat representing the Second District of his state and has not looked back since. A liberal Democrat whom some have compared to Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, Dodd has been an active leader in Congress and even mounted a 2008 bid for the presidency. Among the committees he has chaired are the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Narcotics Affairs; the Education and Early Childhood Development Subcommittee; and the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.

Dodd has been a champion of many causes over the years, but he is best known for his advocacy of public education. He has been a staunch supporter of the Head Start program, working to eliminate unnecessary guidelines and bureaucracy in the program and to expand its services; he also has written proposed legislation to change and sufficiently fund the No Child Left Behind law, and he was a coauthor of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Democrats are sometimes perceived to be soft on crime and strong on welfare programs, but Dodd has supported a crime bill to add one hundred thousand police officers to the streets and has said repeatedly that the best solution to poverty is not government handouts but the establishment of job-creating policies to put people to work. Dodd has also worked to improve health care in the United States, and he is noted for writing legislation to prevent the abuse and unnecessary restraint of the mentally ill in hospitals.

When it comes to foreign policy, Dodd, who has served as a senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee, has protested against President George W. Bush's foreign policies, including the war in Iraq. When he campaigned for president, part of his platform included the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. In addition, the senator "has taken steps to change Administration policies that currently allow the export and loss of critical defense technologies," according to an essay in Carroll's Federal Directory. "And he has been a leader in the Senate to ensure that American soldiers have the best possible equipment on the battlefield." Before withdrawing from the race for the presidency, Dodd commented in a Washington Monthly article about why he feels that the Bush administration's policies in Iraq have been wrong. America, he maintained, has for decades led by example. After World War II, the United States did not cater to England's desire—as represented by Prime Minister Winston Churchill—to simply execute all the Nazis; and the country likewise did not support the Soviet view of having show trials, with the decision to prosecute already made. "America has always stood for something more and deeper," asserted Dodd. President Bush inherited a legacy of justice from U.S. presidents since then, Dodd maintained: "A strong America that the world looked to for leadership…. But in case after case, this administration has not led—and as a consequence, the world has not followed us, leaving us less respected, less secure, and more isolated." While Dodd lost the campaign, he has continued to serve in office and to try to maintain the ideals his father showcased in the Nuremberg trials.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Carroll's Federal Directory, Carroll Publishing (Washington, DC), 2007.

PERIODICALS

American Banker, November 5, 2004, "In Brief: Dodd Won't Challenge Reid for Leadership," p. 19; November 14, 2006, "In Brief: Dodd Names Aides to Committee Jobs," p. 5; November 15, 2006, "Military Lending, GSE Reform in Senate Dems' Sights," p. 1; February 20, 2007, "Can Dodd Turn a Panel Chair into Platform?," p. 1; April 16, 2007, "Washington People," p. 3; August 2, 2007, "Dodd Says His Panel Will Get Moving in Fall," p. 1.

Black Issues in Higher Education, July 5, 2001, "Amendment Seeks ‘Comparable’ Education for Rich, Poor Students," p. 8.

Bond Buyer, October 14, 1993, "PSA Honors Dodd, Fannie and Freddie for Public Service," p. 5.

Christian Science Monitor, December 27, 2007, "Christopher Dodd: A Worldview Shaped by His Father and Fatherhood," p. 1.

Financial Executive, May, 2002, "FASB Chairman Cautions on Proposed Legislation," p. 16.

Hartford Courant, November 18, 2004, "Senator Denies Role in Indian Casino Issue"; February 27, 2008, "Dodd Headed to Texas for Obama: Senator Taking Active Role in Campaign after Endorsing Democratic Candidate."

Healthcare Financial Management, August, 2005, "Quotes of Note," p. 24.

Issues in Science and Technology, summer, 1999, "Bills to Protect Confidentiality of Medical Data Introduced."

Journal of Accountancy, July, 1995, "Dodd Commends Profession's Efforts in Championing Litigation Reform," p. 13.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007, review of Letters from Nuremberg: My Father's Narrative of a Quest for Justice.

Manufacturing & Technology News, March 19, 2004, "A Talk with Senator Dodd," p. 7.

Morning Edition, July 10, 2002, "Interview: Senator Christopher Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, Discusses the Senate's and the President's Proposals Dealing with Corporate Fraud"; October 8, 2007, "For Dodd, First Race Was Call to Service, Legacy."

National Journal, April 15, 2000, "Verbatim," p. 1232.

National Review, May 27, 1983, "Did You Hear Dodd?," p. 644; May 17, 2004, "El Chris: When It Comes to Latin America Policy—and Beyond—Senator Dodd Is in a Class by Himself," p. 24.

National Underwriter Life & Health, May 29, 2006, "Aide Confirms Dodd's Interest in White House Bid," p. 33.

New American, December 10, 2007, "Christopher Dodd," p. 26.

News & Notes, June 21, 2007, "Righting the Wrongs of the Past."

Newsweek, August 13, 2007, "White-Haired Guy Gets Mad," p. 60.

New York Times, October 25, 1998, "The 1998 Campaign: Connecticut; against Dodd, G.O.P. ‘Bomb’ Misfires"; October 22, 2001, "First-Time Fatherhood at 57 Brings a New Perspective," p. 12; March 4, 2003, "Senator Dodd of Connecticut Says He Won't Seek Presidency," p. 20; April 16, 2004, "Dodd Says He Regrets ‘Poor Choice of Words,’" p. 6; January 4, 2008, "Iowa Results Lead Dodd and Biden to Quit Race," p. 14.

New York Times Magazine, September 9, 2007, "A Son's Story," p. 20.

Ophthalmology Times, February 15, 2007, "Bill Would Fund Vision Care for Kids," p. 10.

Psychiatric Times, September 1, 2005, "Key Senators Seek Safety-Oriented Reorganization of FDA," p. 64.

Publishers Weekly, July 9, 2007, review of Letters from Nuremberg, p. 42.

Publius, fall, 2005, "State and Local Government Organizations and the Formation of the Help America Vote Act."

Report on Literacy Programs, August 5, 2004, "Senate Bill Would Add Summer Programs for Low-Income Kindergarten Children," p. 124.

Scholastic Update, March 9, 1987, "Should the Contras Get More U.S. Aid; the U.S. Congress Is Now Considering Whether to Cut Off Aid to the Nicaraguan Rebels," p. 10.

Science, July 24, 1987, "Congress Considers Upgrading Labs," p. 351.

Stamford Advocate, August 13, 2007, "Dodd Defends Donations from Hedge Fund Industry."

Times Union, November 18, 2007, "Editorial: Sen. Dodd's Principle."

USA Today, January 12, 2007, "Dodd Says He'll Run for White House," p. 8.

U.S. News & World Report, May 2, 1983, "U.S. Aid to Nicaraguan Rebels—Lawmakers Speak Out," p. 29; August 20, 2007, "Presidential Contenders Talk Religion."

Vital Speeches of the Day, September 15, 1996, "Do the Right Thing," p. 716.

Washington Monthly, July 1, 2007, "Democrats Unfiltered: The Eight Candidates on America's Place in the World," p. 38.

Weekend Edition Saturday, September 15, 2007, "Sen. Dodd Recalls Father's Role at Nuremberg Trials."

Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, June 19, 2000, "Remarks Honoring Senator Christopher J. Dodd," p. 1352.

Weekly Standard, January 16, 2006, "The Friends of Jack Abramoff; They're Not All Republicans"; October 8, 2007, "The Dodd-Father, More Iraq Vignettes, Etc. from the Scrapbook."

ONLINE

Biographical Directory of the United States Congress,http://bioguide.congress.gov/ (April 8, 2008), author biography.

Christopher J. Dodd U.S. Congress Home Page,http://www.congress.org/bio/id/686 (April 8, 2008).

Christopher J. Dodd U.S. Senate Home Page,http://dodd.senate.gov (April 8, 2008).