The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

September 28, 2007

Dodd campaign sees opportunity in Iowa

Jackie Dodd comes to Ottumwa to campaign for her husband

OTTUMWA — Jackie Dodd has spent plenty of time on the road over the past several months. She’s the wife of Sen. Chris Dodd, a Democratic candidate for president.

Iowa, she says, is an “exhausting” place to campaign.

“But that’s a good thing,” she quickly adds during a visit Friday to Ottumwa. “I think some campaigns have actually hoped that the Iowa caucuses wouldn’t be first.”

The Dodd campaign sees an opportunity in Iowa. The Iowa caucuses are notoriously unpredictable. The September front-runner can become a January also-ran.

Dodd is not the best-known candidate, though he has a considerable Senate record. He’s not the best funded candidate, though his campaign is quick to point out that his fundraising tops John Kerry’s primary donations.

“We’re running a very old-fashioned Iowa campaign. Its been a terrific trip so far,” Jackie said.

What Dodd offers, his wife and campaign say, is experience and an unwillingness to back down if an issue is worth fighting for. The couple’s first child, Grace, was born just a few days after Sept. 11, 2001. Their second daughter was born two years later.

It’s harrowing enough to be a first-time parent, Jackie said. But going through that in September 2001 was surreal. Grace was born while smoke still rose from New York and the Pentagon in Washington. Dodd took her to his office a few days after she came home. While she was there the office found out about the discovery of anthrax in some Senate offices. The contamination included some mail to Dodd.

That’s when the idea of running for president started to ferment. Dodd talked about the idea of running for president on a walk with his wife.

“When he asked me to go for a walk a year and a half ago,” she thought he might be considering having a third child. “Imagine my relief when he only asked me about running for the presidency.”

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