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CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK

Dodd vows to 'stick with' opposition to Iraq, win more supporters

BARRINGTON, N.H. -- Democratic presidential candidate Christopher Dodd said yesterday that his vote this week against continued funding for the Iraq war wasn't particularly difficult.

"That wasn't a courageous vote. It was the right vote to cast," Dodd said. "I don't know how you justify the status quo."

Dodd, a vocal critic of the war in Iraq, said he won't stop suggesting ways to end the war. He was the only 2008 presidential candidate to co-sponsor the Democrats' most aggressive antiwar bill.

"We're going to go back at it again. What bothers me is that we're not stepping up and doing what's right," he said. "Even the Republican leadership is now setting benchmarks, putting some parameters on the White House. . . . I will not stop on this. I have a bad habit of being dogged on this. I will stick with it."

Despite his opposition to the conflict, Dodd said the military members serving there deserve his support.

"Regardless of our views on Iraq, but these are remarkable men and women serving in Iraq," Dodd said on his Memorial Day visit to the first-in-the-nation primary state.

Even so, the Connecticut senator didn't leave any confusion about what he views as a war waged "for all the wrong reasons."

"We really can't wait another 18 months [for the next president]. We have to have the convictions to stand up to this president," Dodd said. "This is just going deeper and deeper into a hole that makes us less secure. Our moral leadership has been destroyed by the hour."

Dodd, a veteran of the US Senate, trails in state and national polls and acknowledges he isn't keeping pace with rival campaigns' fund-raising strength.

"We're doing pretty well, but not at the levels of others," Dodd said.

He said as more voters hear his opposition to the war, they'll become supporters.

"I realized I'm not as well financed as others. I realize I'm not as well known as others," Dodd said. "But I can win the election in 2008 if I win this nomination."

Clinton on YouTube
WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton wants YouTube viewers to pick her campaign theme song -- and the response, so far, has been music to her ears.

In a clear appeal to young voters, a YouTube video asks viewers to vote for the New York senator's presidential campaign theme song on her website. The contest started May 16.

The five suggested songs that got the most votes were "Suddenly I See," KT Tunstall; "Rock This Country!" Shania Twain' "Beautiful Day," U2; "Get Ready," The Temptations; and "I'm a Believer," Smash Mouth.

The top write-in suggestions: "Are You Gonna Go My Way," Lenny Kravitz; "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," McFadden & Whitehead; "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," The Police; "You and I," Celine Dion; and "The Best," Tina Turner.

"I want to know what you're thinking on one of the most important questions of this campaign," Clinton said in a mock-serious tone in the initial video. "It's something we've been struggling with, debating, agonizing over for months. So now I'm turning to you, the American people."

According to the view counter on YouTube, the May 16 video had more than 500,000 views; a more recent post was seen by more than 40,000. Clinton's campaign said it received more than 130,000 votes in the first round. It promises to release the final result "in the coming days." (AP)

Iowa caucus is a go
WASHINGTON -- Tucked away in a Clinton campaign memorandum that leaked out last week was a brief note about a quirk in next year's primary election calendar that could have a profound effect on the strategies and spending of all the candidates.

The memorandum, by Mike Henry, the deputy campaign manager for Clinton, made a case for ignoring Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses next Jan. 14 and devoting the candidate's limited time and resources to contests in much-bigger states that will follow in the following three weeks, including Florida, Arizona, California, New Jersey, Georgia, and Texas.

Henry noted that all of those states, and several others whose primaries are set for early February, will be mailing out millions of absentee ballots in the weeks before Iowans gather for their caucuses, potentially diminishing Iowa's importance.

Iowa and New Hampshire, which holds its primary a week after the Iowa caucuses, have jealously guarded their status as early arbiters of who's hot and who's not.

But next year, because of the extreme compression of the primary calendar, millions of voters will have the chance to register their choices before the Iowa and New Hampshire results are in. Henry warned that the Clinton campaign could not afford to ignore the greater numbers of potential early voters in the big states that vote right after tiny Iowa and New Hampshire.

Clinton dismissed the advice to skip Iowa. (The New York Times)

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