By Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 4, 2008
The two veteran lawmakers of the Democratic presidential race, Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) and Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.), abandoned their candidacies after poor showings in last night's Iowa caucuses.
Biden, who was elected to the Senate in 1972 and serves as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, had hoped large crowds in recent weeks would help him earn at least a fourth-place showing. But that support did not materialize, and Biden netted only about 1 percent of delegates, less than half what recent polls had predicted.
"There is nothing sad about tonight. We are so incredibly proud of you all," Biden said to supporters. "So many of you have sacrificed for me, and I am so indebted to you. I feel no regret."
Dodd, who chairs the Banking Committee and is serving his fifth term, registered just 0.02 percent of Democratic support in Iowa.
"Let me assure you: We are not ending this race with our heads hanging, but our heads held high," he told about 100 supporters at a rally in Des Moines. "I am not going anywhere."
Dodd moved his wife and two young daughters to Des Moines and built a sizable statewide organization, including 13 offices and a large payroll of campaign professionals. Biden also blitzed the state, scooping up endorsements from state and local officials, and offering crowds intricate discourses on foreign policy.
But in a year in which voters said they were seeking change, Dodd and Biden struck Iowans as a little too familiar, fixtures of a Washington establishment that had grown stale from years of gridlock and partisan infighting.