By Susan Milligan, Globe Staff
MANCHESTER -- Chris Dodd may be behind in the polls, but he got one high-profile -- if conditional -- endorsement today: fellow Senator Joe Biden, one of Dodd's rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The two not-front-runners ran into each other at an event by the Granite State Independent Living, as Biden was leaving after giving his speech to the disabled rights organization and Dodd was arriving to deliver his.
The two Democratic senators greeted each other warmly, and Dodd, a Connecticut lawmaker, introduced his sister, Caroline Dodd, to his colleague from Delaware.
Biden leaned in and said conspiratorially, ``By the way, I'm for him. If I can't make it, I'm for him.''
Caroline, who is legally blind and a retired schoolteacher, has campaigned for her younger brother and been an activist for disabled people.
Dodd also picked up another member of the Kennedy family yesterday as a supporter. Bobby Shriver, son of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver, endorsed Dodd yesterday. He joins his cousins, Teddy Kennedy, Jr., and Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, as official Dodd backers.
No word on when Teddy and Patrick Kennedy's father, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, will make an endorsement. The elder Kennedy is close friends with Dodd, but three other Democratic contenders also serve with Kennedy in the Senate.