Here‘s a story from me today on Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, who is polling just below Joe Lieberman these days. I also wanted to include this link to my interview with Dodd late last night. Be forewarned, the audio isn’t great as we had been told up until that last minute that we weren’t getting an interview (yes, at the top he is apologizing for interrupting my dinner party) and I was forced to record it off of my Blackberry speakerphone.
The genesis is this story came out of my reporting on where the health care talks stand for this story. Several of the stake holders in the room told me that Dodd was often in the meetings acting as Kennedy’s understudy. As you’ll hear in the interview, Dodd downplays taking too active of a role, saying he is focused more on the Banking Committee. But at least three groups that work closely with the Banking Committee told me they were worried that Dodd seems more interested in HELP these days. And, honestly, who really wants to be the face of such popular initiatives as TARP and the automaker bailout? As Dodd himself wryly notes, people aren’t exactly jockeying for his chairmanship. But his troubling poll numbers — Countrywide and Iowa aside — do beg the question: while Obama’s popularity remains sky high, are rank and file members bearing the public’s rage for the economy? On the whole Dem poll numbers in Congress are up compared to their GOP counterparts, and Dodd obviously has other problems to contend with, but he is one of the the highest profile faces in the financial crisis and clearly he believes that is having an impact on his polling numbers.