Prez candidate Christopher Dodd took a subtle jab at one of his opponents (who also happens to have way more support in the polls right now). He hinted (o.k., more than "hinted") the past proves a newbie isn't the right guy for the country's future.
Dodd was talking before about 100 or so folks at the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy in downtown Des Moines. He said restoring the country's international standing will take a lot more than promises of hope (Obama's catch phrase word during his campaign stops here).
Dodd said, "Sometimes we fail to understand that this also takes experience. We sometimes belittle experience when it comes to doing these things. I don't think after six years of George Bush on the job training....that we need new leadership in this country that doesn't bring experience to the table that knows how to do these things from the beginning."
Dodd may have introduced a phrase we may hear him use again..."We don't need a surge of troops in Iraq - we need a surge of diplomacy."
Here's the campaign release about his speech...
Saying that his Presidency would strengthen America and begin an era of "bold engagement," Senator and Presidential Candidate Chris Dodd announced his foreign policy vision in a major address tonight at the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy in Des Moines. "Indeed, positive, bold engagement that restores America's reputation as a secure, reliable and responsible leader would form the bedrock of a national security doctrine in a Dodd Presidency - a national security policy rooted in a reenergized military, strengthened international alliances and policies that enhance America's security for the long-term," Dodd said in the speech. In sharp contrast to Senator John McCain's address this morning at VMI, which argued for more of the same failed Bush administration Iraqi policy of troop escalation, Senator Dodd called for a new course in Iraq.
The troop escalation is "not only failing to make Iraq more secure. By sapping our military of its strength and America of its leadership in the world, the Bush/McCain policy has made America less secure," said Dodd. "We don't need a surge of troops in Iraq - we need a surge of diplomacy."
Dodd called on his fellow Presidential candidates to join him in support of the Feingold-Reid bill that stands up to this President's failed policy, re-deploys combat troops within one year, and brings an end to this war.
Dodd also addressed the need for proven leadership to address the challenges that will face the next President of the United States. "Like never before, we need a President who is ready to lead from day one. There will not be a single day, a single moment for on-the-job training. Not one." Some excerpts from the speech, "Beyond Iraq and Into An Era of Bold Engagement":
Contrasting Dodd's position with that of Senator John McCain: "Just today, my Republican colleague who also seeks the presidency spoke about our involvement there. I understand that while he acknowledged setbacks in our efforts in Iraq, he reiterated his support for the President's troop surge strategy, arguing that it is succeeding and that we cannot afford to redeploy our troops out of Iraq.
"No one questions Senator McCain's patriotism. He is a war hero and a friend. But like the President, he is wrong. "According to a news report, the day after Senator McCain toured a Baghdad marketplace—a visit guarded by 100 American soldiers, three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships—21 Shia workers from that same market were ambushed, bound and shot to death north of the capital.
"Senator 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."
Calling for decisive action to end the war in Iraq: "I am calling on all the candidates in this race to join me in clearly standing up to the President once and for all by stating their support for the Feingold-Reid legislation that sets a firm timetable to end this war by March 31st, 2008. After more than 3,200 lives lost, tens of thousands wounded and $400 billion spent, it is time to bring an end to a war that at every turn has failed to make America safer. The hour is late. It is time to begin putting our country on a more secure path." Recognizing the need for experienced leadership: "Let me be clear - hope alone will not wipe away the damage to America's moral authority these last 6 years. Hope alone will not bring our allies back to our side. Hope alone will not restore America's leadership. Like never before, we need a President who is ready to lead from day one. There will not be a single day, a single moment for on-the-job training. Not one."
Holding America's strategic allies accountable for their actions: "The fact is, our real challenges in all of these areas lie not alone with our enemies - we know who they are. Our challenges also lie with those we call our friends or strategic allies - nations like Saudi Arabia and Russia who continue to suppress freedom and democracy and permit conditions that allow our enemies to thrive.
"What America needs is a President who will insist the House of Saud stop sending money to terrorists to take up residence elsewhere and start using their resources and efforts to bring stability and peace to the Middle East. "What America needs is a President who will look into Vladimir Putin's eyes not to get a sense of his soul - but to tell him America wants to work together with Russia, not against her, but cannot in the face of his blatant disregard for a free press and suppression of political dissent."
Using energy technology to free America and the world from foreign oil dependence: "Energy policy is a critical component of bold engagement in the 21st Century. A Dodd presidency would insist upon sharing with our allies the same renewable energy technology that will allow America to achieve energy independence - rendering the oil bribes offered by Iran's Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's Chavez irrelevant, opening new markets for American goods and services, and creating conditions for democratic principles to take hold.
"It is time we help countries end their alliances of necessity with dictators simply because they are desperate for oil and aid. An America that leads on energy opens new doors in its relationship with nations from Latin America to Africa to Asia."