Dodd and the FISA Filibuster

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With the Iowa caucuses just two and a half weeks away, the candidates have pretty much taken up residence in the state, with one conspicuous exception. This morning will find Senator Chris Dodd on the Senate floor, where he plans to be staging a filibuster against the telcom immunity provision in the FISA bill. As we’ve written here before, Dodd’s opposition has won him much love from the netroots. But it’s not exactly the best timing from a conventional political perspective. (Dodd, after all, moved his family to Iowa in October.)

A campaign official tells me: “He understands that he should probably be in Iowa campaigning, but the Constituion and the rule of law are Dodd’s passion. He has a deep history with it and fundamentally believes that we decrease our standing in the world when we don’t live up to our values. And when that happens we weaken our national security.”

As for the campaign, it has already cancelled two days of events, and could have to cancel more. Previously scheduled appearances are being changed to “Stand Up with Dodd” events. These will be watch parties where supporters will gather around CSPAN, with phone and email lines set up so they can lobby other Senators to join Dodd in the filibuster, and help him keep it going by tossing questions to him. (Over at Firedoglake, Jane Hamsher–whose is one of several sites setting up diaries where supporters can leave messages for Dodd to read during the filibuster–reports that Edward Kennedy and Russ Feingold have already agreed to join the effort.)

The campaign official adds that while the move is an unusual one this close to an important contest, it taps into “the frustration people feel with Congress not doing the job they were elected to do last fall, not standing up to Bush and not restoring our security. Time to say enough is enough.”

UPDATE, from the Department of Freudian Typos:

Dodd’s campaign at 5:59 p.m. sent out an e-mail update with this subject line:


At 6:05 p.m., it sent out a corrected e-mail with this subject line:


UPDATE2: Reid has pulled the bill from the Senate floor until January. Dodd’s campaign issued this statement:

“Today we have scored a victory for American civil liberties and sent a message to President Bush that we will not tolerate his abuse of power and veil of secrecy,” said Dodd. “The President should not be above the rule of law, nor should the telecom companies who supported his quest to spy on American citizens. I want to thank the thousands of Americans throughout the country that stood with me to get this done for our country.”