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Doubts About Dodd

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Chris Dodd, along with Barney Frank, are conservatives’ favorite fall guys for the housing-credit bubble that has upended the markets and deepened the recession. Dodd’s home state voters in Connecticut aren’t happy with the long-serving Dodd, as Time Magazine reports in the new issue. Key among the concerns over Dodd:

Much of Dodd’s current woes stem from a pair of mortgages that he must wish he had never gotten. His reputation still has not recovered from the revelation last year that he received a sweetheart deal on his mortgage, saving upwards of $75,000 courtesy of Countrywide, one of the biggest pushers of the subprime mortgages that have landed the U.S. economy in such dire straits. Connecticut officials say there is no evidence of wrongdoing, and Dodd, who has allowed reporters limited access to his mortgage documents, denies he got any preferential treatment and insists he is going to refinance with a different bank. “I made the mistake of not addressing it earlier,” Dodd concedes in an interview. Still he will not allow reporters to further examine the “hundreds of pages” of mortgage documents, saying, “no one has ever showed as much as we have.” But the scandal has left a bad taste with Connecticut voters; in a January Quinnipiac poll, 56% of them said the Countrywide connection made them less likely to vote for Dodd.

To challenge Dodd the GOP would need a candidate with a story and an abaility to stay on message, and Larry Kudlow is often mentioned as just the sort of candidate who can generate a lot of enthusiasm by virtue of his personal story of recovery from addiction, finding faith, and his sincere love of free markets. Whether Kudlow wants to trade in his very successful run as a talking head is the big issue, but if he does, the origins of the crisis will be center-stage throughout 2009 and 2010 –a very good thing for the GOP generally.

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