The will was quick.
“Chris Dodd” was early Monday morning afternoon. The chorus asked if Biden had wrongly empowered an old friend of his time in a predominantly male senate to guide his potential historical choice. They accused Dodd of choosing Harris for the kind of behavior they rarely criticize when one does it – aggressively behind an opponent in a discussion.
“Hey @SenChrisDodd,” Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen wrote on Twitter. “This is a kind of lousy behavior that this process does not need. Shut up. “Biden himself arrived at a press conference set up to talk about Harris and waited for questions.
And on Tuesday, ABC̵7;s “View”, Sunny Hostin raised the issue again.
“I was wondering how many times a woman is required to stay in her place?” Hostin said, “Do something other than what men always do?”
Sources close to Dodd and those with knowledge of the competition said his role was no greater than that of the other three members of the research commission.
Dozens of Democrats – including former assistants, senior leaders, former and current elected officials and donors – said their primary contact with the selection team was Dodd.
Biden and Dodd were cast in the same form. Like Biden, Dodd tried to limit his long career in the Senate by applying for the White House – both of which ran unsuccessfully in 2008. Bid supporters and collaborators said they were both very close; some even called them brothers.
So when it came time to narrow down VP’s choice, Biden turned to his loyal friend, whom he trusts in his political instincts.
“He didn’t want to do what.” [the late Sen.] John McCain yes – he commissioned a political figure. He wanted a friend. Someone he has known for 30 years, “said the Biden family’s longtime confidant. “He wants to make sure he doesn’t end up with someone who just feels the pulse every day.”
During the review, Dodd was the voice on the other end of the phone, examining local party leaders, current and former elected officials, and the best donors. He is also the one with whom people with particular concerns about the candidate have met with criticism or opposition research.
“He couldn’t have chosen a better person to help him solve the problem,” former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in an interview. “Chris is really good, I’ve talked to him a lot.”
Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who served as Dodd’s boss in the 1980s, said that a factor of trust in him had clearly led Biden to assign VP.
“This is a crazy city. You have a lot of acquaintances, but you have few friends – people you can rely on on the one hand and whom you can trust in good and bad times, “she said. “Both of them made a friendship so soon – 30 years ago.” They were good friends, they met each other and they got to know their families very well. ‘ “
However, Dodd’s critics have been swarming since Monday, arguing that he is not fit to play such an important role in the election of the vice president.
“At a time when the country is in the greatest crisis anyone has ever seen – from a pandemic to racial inequality to a very tumultuous democratic mayor, we need to make sure leaders reflect the candidate’s vision,” Camille Rivera said. , a Democratic strategist with a progressive firm in New York. “Chris, as head of the committee, must consider how the general public will respond to these comments – especially to a woman of color. He is responsible for keeping in mind the time we are in. ‘ “
Others say Harris brought her own questions. Biden, as a democratic pioneer, was a boxing bag for opponents throughout the primary. But his campaign at the time he saw Harris’s attack as another, cheap shot, because it meant he was a racist. (Harris began his attack “I don’t believe you’re a racist.”)
A spokesman for Harris declined to comment on Dodd.
Rose Kapolczynski, a veteran Democratic strategist who advises former Senator Barbara Boxer of California, said she was not very interested in Dodd’s role in the veterinary process.
“People may not like Chris Dodd for any reason, but I think it’s wrong to say that because of his race and gender, he can’t make a bold and transformational recommendation,” she said.
Hubbub challenged Dodd’s loyalists to jump in his defense. These included Minyon Moore, whom Dodd, as a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, appointed the first African-American political director of the main political party.
“He saw my skills and thought I deserved a job, and several people competed for this job. He was definitely a boss and a friend through and through, “said Moore, who later served as a close advisor to Hillary Clinton.
“As for the opportunity, Chris Dodd has opened the door for me and women,” DeLauro said.
A source close to Dodd said he considered Harris a friend on Wednesday and was a supporter of her campaign in the Senate. The person said Dodd had spoken to Harris several times during the screening process, but would not have reported those calls.
“He spoke to all the candidates – and others. He went through hundreds of interviews, “the source said, adding that Dodd is not responsible for the review:” There is no leader, everyone is talking to people and giving suggestions to the vice president. It is the decision of the vice president and his only. “
Other members of the committee are the White Chamber and Senate Adviser Cynthia Hogan, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.). Other candidates are including General Legal Counsel Dana Remus, former White House Obama Legal Counsel Bob Bauer and former National Security Counsel Lisa Monaco.
Eleni Kounalakis, a lieutenant governor of California and a supporter of Harris, said Dodd had said “very supportive things” about Harris in recent days. “The fact is that strong, open and ambitious women are a role model in our country,” said POLITICO Kounalakis, a former ambassador and the first woman to hold a post in state no. 2. “A woman can be all these things and still be a loyal vice president with whom it is great to work.”
On Wednesday, Rosen accused Dodd of allowing him to penetrate the details of the search.
“I believe Joe Biden will make a good choice for VP because he knows the role better than anyone else,” Rosen said. “I’m gathering a few advisers who have spoken to the candidates, but they’re discreet.” Dodd, she added, “she was showing off, and that was a mistake.”
Campaign Biden and Dodd took steps to quell the will of Monday’s report, but it took them a while.
When POLITICO came to him with a report on Sunday, Dodd refused to respond. Nearly two days after the story began, his office issued a statement to Washington Post journalist Jennifer Rubin, noting that Dodd had “hundreds of interviews to find a vice president.”
Although he did not want to “deal with speculation” by commenting on the matter, he added, “the anonymous comments made by POLITICO MEPs yesterday do not represent my views on Senator Harris or what I shared with Vice President Biden, and should be addressed. ”
Biden himself arrived on Tuesday for a press conference ready to address the Harris issue. The list of bullet points he held in his hand was captured by the photographer of the associated press.
“Don’t hold a grudge.” “Campaign with me and Jill.” “Talented.” “Great help with the campaign.” “Great respect for her,” the notes read.
However, the reporters he asked questions did not ask Harris.
Damage control spread to Wednesday night, when Biden’s campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon appears to be criticizing that Dodd’s comments are a sign that Biden was somehow spending Harris because she showed ambition.
“Ambitious women make history, change the world and win. Our campaign is full of ambitious women who follow Joe Biden, “she tweeted. “He will make this decision, and it is clear: anyone who chooses the highly qualified options that will help him win and unite the country will also be one of them.”