Emotional Dodd: "None of us is irreplaceable"

The senator gets choked up at a press conference about his impending retirement

By Alex Koppelman
Published January 6, 2010 5:54PM (EST)

At a press conference he held Wednesday afternoon to discuss his decision not to run for reelection after almost 30 years in the Senate, Connecticut Democrat Chris Dodd couldn't hold back his emotion. Choking up at times, Dodd talked about why he'd decided to retire -- the likelihood of a loss hadn't played a role, he claimed, though he did at least acknowledge the difficult race he would have faced -- especially some of the things he's faced over the past year.

"Over the past 12 months, I've managed four major pieces of legislation through the United States Congress, served as chair and acting chair of two major Senate committees, placing me at the center of the two most important issues of our time: health care and reform of financial services," Dodd said. "I lost a beloved sister in July, and in August Ted Kennedy. I battled cancer over the summer. And in the midst of all of this found myself in the toughest political shape of my career."

But, he added, "None of these events nor circumstances, either individually or collectively, is the cause of my decision not to seek reelection. Yet together these challenges have given me pause to take stock and to ask questions that too few of us in elected public life ever do: Why am I running?"

Dodd also spoke of traveling to Arlington Cemetery and the grave of Sen. Ted Kennedy after the Senate voted on healthcare reform, an issue dear to Kennedy's heart, the day before Christmas, saying he thought about his career, constituents and colleagues. And from there, he went on to say, "I have been a Connecticut senator for 30 years. I'm very proud of the job I've done and the results delivered. But none of us is irreplaceable. None of us are indispensable."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2010 Elections Christopher Dodd D-conn.