I am the campaign blogger for the Obama campaign and this is crossposted at BarackObama.com. We're thrilled that Senator Chris Dodd -- a champion of progressive values and a leader on the forefront of the fight uphold our constitutional rights -- has endorsed Barack Obama for President of the United States. Below are the remarks Senator Obama delivered today in response to Senator Dodd's endorsement...
Remarks on Chris Dodd Endorsement
As Prepared for Delivery
Senator Barack Obama
February 26, 2008
It has been my pleasure to serve alongside Chris Dodd in the United States Senate. It was a privilege to share the stage with him during his principled run for the presidency. And it is an honor to stand here with him today, and to accept his endorsement of my candidacy for President of the United States of America.
I say that because Chris Dodd loves his country – and believes in the ideal of public service – as much as anyone I know. From his years as a young Peace Corps worker in the 1960s to this very day, Senator Dodd has devoted his life to building a stronger, fairer, healthier America; and a more just and secure world.
Whether it was his work to protect voting rights; his long, determined battle for the Family and Medical Leave Act; his leadership on U.S. relations with Latin America; or his defense of our Constitution – Chris Dodd has been at the forefront of some of the most important issues of our time. He has worked hard to preserve the right of workers to organize despite an onslaught from a hostile administration. He has been an advocate for our children, and no one has fought harder to improve our schools. He has been a voice for unity amid the often bitter debate over immigration reform. And I have seen firsthand on the Foreign Relations Committee his commitment to restoring our standing in the world.
But as passionate as Chris Dodd is about the causes he champions, he also has that rare ability to disagree without being disagreeable. He is respected on both sides of the aisle for his authenticity, reason, and civility. And that is how, time and again, he’s been able to bring Democrats and Republicans together to make a real difference in the lives of the American people.
He conducted his campaign for President with that same character. He resisted the cheap and easy shots, and elevated the debate with important ideas about how to address the great challenges we face. He and I share a deep commitment to take our country in a new direction.
We know it’s time to end the war in Iraq. This war has not made us safer, it has overstretched our military, it has cost us precious American lives, and it is costing us billions and billions of dollars that could be better spent finishing the fight in Afghanistan and bringing relief to the middle class here at home.
We know it’s time for an energy policy that ends our addiction to oil. We can’t keep buying oil from dictators while our planet is in peril and Americans are paying more at the pump. It’s time to embrace a clean energy policy that enhances our national security, while creating green jobs right here in states like Ohio.
We know it’s time to reclaim the American Dream for the middle class. Instead of giving tax breaks to companies that ship our jobs overseas, it’s time to put a tax cut in the pockets of working people and seniors. Instead of giving hundreds of millions to well-connected contractors in Iraq, it’s time to put America back together again by investing in our infrastructure – an issue that Chris Dodd has shown real leadership on in the Senate. And instead of standing by while there’s a squeeze on the middle class, it’s time to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act so no American has to choose between a job and their family.
We know it’s time to time to restore our Constitution and the rule of law. This is an issue that was at the heart of Senator Dodd’s candidacy, and I share his passion for restoring the balance between the security we demand and the civil liberties that we cherish.
The American people must be able to trust that their president values principle over politics, and justice over unchecked power. I’ve been proud to stand with Senator Dodd in his fight against retroactive immunity for the telecommunications industry. Secrecy and special interests must not trump accountability. We must show our citizens – and set an example to the world – that laws cannot be ignored when it is inconvenient. Because in America – no one is above the law.
It’s time to reject torture without equivocation. It’s time to close Guantanamo and to restore habeas corpus. It’s time to give our intelligence and law enforcement agencies the tools they need to track down and take out terrorists, while ensuring that their actions are subject to vigorous oversight that protects our freedom. So let me be perfectly clear: I have taught the Constitution, I understand the Constitution, and I will obey the Constitution when I am President of the United States.
Finally, it’s time to once again inspire this nation to rally behind a common purpose – a higher purpose. Throughout his campaign, Senator Dodd spoke eloquently about the need to turn the page to a new era of public service. That is the legacy of his own family – the legacy of a father who stood up to the Nazis at Nuremberg, and a young man who enlisted in the Peace Corps after he heard President Kennedy’s call to service on a cold Inauguration Day.
I am running for president because I believe deeply in the promise of America – without that promise, I would not be here today, because my story is not possible anywhere else on earth. I believe that each of us has an obligation to do our part to extend that promise – not just for ourselves, but for our country. That’s why I share Senator Dodd’s commitment to dramatically expand public service programs like AmeriCorps. That’s why I will give all Americans more opportunities to serve their communities and their country. And that’s why I will work to put an end to the division and distraction in our politics, so that we can finally come together to meet the great challenges we face.
I know that it will not be easy to deliver the change that we seek, but I know that the road will be easier with the support of Senator Dodd and the millions of voices who have joined our call for change. With his help, I know that we can unite our Democratic Party, and build a coalition that brings together Democrats and Independents and Republicans behind a mandate for change. Together, we can keep America’s promise in the 21st century.
UPDATE: Here is video of Senator Dodd's endorsement from Cleveland, Ohio...