Sen. Chris Dodd answers questions in our presidential mashup.

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Sept. 12 2007 11:52 PM

Dodd: Iraq Has Left Us More Vulnerable

Sen. Chris Dodd answers questions in our presidential mashup.

The following is an unedited transcript and may contain typos or omissions. Click here for more on the presidential mashup.

(Continued from Page 2)

Dodd: Well, Bill, I've taken the position, certainly with medical use of marijuana, that it ought to be allowed. And many states, I think 12 or 13 states allow that today. In fact, we just had a huge debate in the committee in which I serve dealing with the issue. And I've strongly advocated that these states not be biased or prejudiced because they allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. And again, the overall of general of allowing the decriminalization, I strongly advocate as well. We're cluttering up our prisons, frankly, when we draw distinctions. And let me go beyond marijuana here in terms of crack cocaine or powder cocaine, where we have differentials in prison sentences here. So I would decriminalize, or certainly advocate as president, the decriminalization of statutes that would incarcerate or severely penalize people for using marijuana. But I want to be careful, and I know there are a lot of people across the political spectrum who would just totally legalize it. I don't go that far. But certainly in the areas I've mentioned to you here, I think, certainly, are steps that move in that direction.

Rose: When you look at the issues that seem to be the third rail, give us a sense of how you feel about the divisiveness in American politics and the power of interest groups.

Advertisement

Dodd: Well, I don't think we're as divided. I think this is one of the myths in American politics. The political community seeks to divide it. These wedge issues that are brought up all the time. But I find that there's a commonalty of interest, Charlie, among many subject matters here. People may disagree on how best to achieve universal health care or what needs to be done with education, but no one disagrees that our public school systems need far more attention than they're getting or that health care needs to be addressed. So the talk of actually uniting and bringing people together I think is a very important issue that doesn't get discussed enough in this campaign. It's important to talk about the grocery list of issues, where you stand on Iraq and health care and education. But the more important question is, show me what abilities you have, demonstrate to me that you have the capacity to actually bridge these gaps and bringing people together. It's something I've done for a quarter of a century. I do it very well. My colleagues know this, Democrats and Republicans. On every major issue of landmark legislation that I've authored that have fundamentally changed the face of America, such as family and medical leave, early childhood education, dealing with financial institutions, for instance. In every case, I did them with a conservative Republican. Not necessarily because I wanted to, but because there no other way this was going to be achieved unless you brought people together around a common idea. And that's been missing, I think, in our debates. There's an acknowledgment that this is important because people talked about it, but too little is asked to demonstrate where you have shown the ability to do this. And I think we've reached a point where if we don't do this in the coming days, both domestic and foreign policy issues are going to split this country wide apart and make it very difficult for us to grapple with any problem at all. So it's a very important issue, one I hope we talk more about in the coming weeks.

Rose:  I welcome coming back to the table, Sen. Dodd. Thank you.

Dodd: Thank you very much, Charlie.

Rose: Sen. Christopher Dodd. Back in a moment.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 16 2014 8:00 AM The Wall Street Bombing: Low-Tech Terrorism in Prohibition-era New York
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 7:36 AM The Inspiration Drought Why our science fiction needs new dreams.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.