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Joe Biden parachutes into Connecticut today to help embattled Chris Dodd, still back from Iowa (Updated)

FivehundredollarBill

Everybody remembers Chris Dodd as Iowa's third U.S. senator, the man who got elected to Congress from the Nutmeg state of Connecticut and then, in a dramatic PR move that may come back to haunt him now, moved lock, stock and family to the Hawkeye state last year in a hopeless bid to win the Democratic presidential caucuses there.

He even enrolled his young daughter in school while some cameras were around.

Connecticut (the second "c" is silent, btw) could wait.

Well, now Dodd is up for reelection back in that little state so full of rich people. And 11 months out, the five-term legislative talker is losing in polls to pretty much any Republican on the horizon.

A recent Quinnipiac poll showed Dodd with the universal sign of political vulnerability: More than half the state's voters disapprove of his job performance, marred by reports of favorite financial treatment given him by the scandal-plagued Countrywide mortgage firm. And Dodd's longtime committee relationships with those evil bonused bankers.

Democrats vice president Joe Biden and Chris Dodd campaigning in Connecticut 10-09

So, today -- again -- Democrats are calling in VP Joe Biden, the big, uh, gun to help the tarnished Dodd do some pre-election-year campaigning in Hartford.

(UPDATE: 8:54 a.m. Due to the possibility of Senate votes, Dodd is standing up the vice president today. He'll remain in Washington and let the VP go to the Connecticut events without him.)

Back in October, Biden helped his old Senate buddy raise money. And he'll do the same today at a $500-per-plate luncheon.

Biden will likely say way too many kind words about Dodd. Because right now, Dodd is the Democrats' crucial 60th Senate vote and perhaps the most vulnerable.

After lunch, the two D.C. pals will visit the East Hartford Fire Department, which, probably coincidentally, is receiving 3,390,000 taxpayer dollars to rebuild a satellite fire station under the Pelosi administration's Revitalization Act.

No, just kidding. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi only wrote the $787-billion stimulus bill. (But she is next in line to the White House after Biden.) Remember last winter President Obama flew all the way out to Denver for some reason to sign it?

A Rasmussen Report poll out the other day found Dodd losing a potential race against, for instance, Republican Linda McMahon, 38% to 44%. That name sound familiar? Wife of Vince. She's former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment.

Dodd could be helped by Obama's popularity there (the president took Connecticut by 23 percentage points 13 months ago).

And Obama will want to hold Senate control at 60 under Nevada's Harry Reid, who's got his own reelection disapproval problems back home. And then there's newly-minted Democrat Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania trouble, where another Rasmussen poll this week finds Republican Pat Toomey leading both Specter and Rep. Joe Sestak challenging the ex-GOP guy for the Democrat Senate nomination next year. Good thing the national economy is rebounding so strongly, thanks to the less-than-half-spent stimulus spending.

If all else fails, Dodd can call in popular fellow Sen. Joe Lieberman.  Oh, wait, no. The Connecticut Democratic Party tried -- unsuccessfully -- to dump the now independent Lieberman over his Iraq war support.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: John Woike / Hartford Courant

 
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Dump Dodd!

Andrew, the second 'c' n Connecticut is not silent. Phonetically: Con-neck-tee-cut. Ask someone who lives there, "journalist".


(Well then, you talk funny.)


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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