Popular outrage focuses on Senator Dodd

Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) must regret some his ties to AIG as scrambles to save his political career, according to the New York Times:

Across Connecticut, anger is erupting against Mr. Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, whose stature in Washington once reflected the state's beneficial ties with the financial industry. Now, he finds himself a symbol of the political establishment's coziness with tainted corporations and a target of populist wrath over their excesses.

A reversal like this can happen and should be expected when a powerful and well-known politician appears to have aided corporate looters while most of his or her constituents suffer through an economic crisis.

On Thursday, the senator sought to defuse the furor over the latest revelation, holding a conference call with reporters to explain how legislation meant to limit executive compensation was changed at the last minute. That change exempted bonuses protected by contracts, like those at American International Group, a big campaign contributor to Mr. Dodd that received billions in federal bailout money.

Some of Connecticut's citizens were unimpressed by Dodd's excuse:

In dozens of interviews, residents said they were appalled by Mr. Dodd's ties to financial firms and believed that he had damaged himself as he prepares to run for re-election next year.

It remains to be seen whether this backlash moment has the staying power needed to undermine Dodd's 2010 reelection efforts.

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