By Jimmy Moore
Talon News
April 13, 2004

WASHINGTON (Talon News) — Members of a black leadership group are asking Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) to resign from his position in the United States Senate because of recent comments he made regarding Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV).

Talon News was one of the few national media outlets that reported on this story last week about Dodd’s remarks about Byrd made on the floor of the Senate on April 1 (read previous story).

“I do not think it is an exaggeration at all to say to my friend from West Virginia that he would have been a great senator at any moment,” Dodd exclaimed. “Some were right for the time. Robert C. Byrd, in my view, would have been right at any time.”

Despite the fact that Byrd was once a member of the Ku Klux Klan, Dodd even remarked that the West Virginia Democrat “would have been right at the founding of this country, right during the Civil War.”

Dodd concluded his controversial statement by claiming, “I cannot think of a single moment in this nation’s 220-plus year history where [Byrd] would not have been a valuable asset to this country.”

Project 21 spokesman Kevin Martin said he is outraged at the comments made by Dodd and is shocked that Dodd was allowed to make them without any backlash whatsoever.

“How could Senator Dodd have made the comments he did with a straight face? And how can he believe he’s going to get away with it?,” Martin asked in a press release. “Robert Byrd is a former leader in the Ku Klux Klan, and later an opponent of civil rights legislation. I can think of many places in American history where I wouldn’t want him setting our nation’s agenda.”

Martin recalled the treatment given to former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) after he found himself in a situation to Dodd’s.

“When Senator Trent Lott made similar comments about Senator Strom Thurmond at a party, he was roundly condemned,” Martin recalled. “He lost his leadership post, and almost drummed out of the Senate.”

Talon News reported last Thursday that Lott made a speech at the 100th birthday party for the legendary South Carolina Sen. Thurmond where he asserted that if he had been elected president in 1948 running as a member of the segregationist Dixiecrat Party, then “we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years.”

The media onslaught was treacherous as Lott attempted to apologize for his comments. The pressure did not let up until he decided to step down from his position as Senate Majority Leader.

Demonstrating their consistency on this, Project 21 roundly criticized Lott at the time and called for him to resign his leadership position.

“What Lott said was hurtful, and he paid a price at Senator Dodd’s urging,” Martin stated. “Now it’s Dodd’s time to face the music and resign.”

What Martin is referring to is a quote made by Dodd about Lott’s comments about Thurmond in December 2002.

“If a Democratic leader had made [Lott’s] statements, we would have to call for his stepping aside, without any question whatsoever,” Dodd told United Press International at the time.

He continued, “If Tom Daschle or another Democratic leader were to have made similar statements, the reaction would have been very swift. I don’t think several hours would have gone by without there being an almost unanimous call for the leader to step aside.”

Actually, Dodd was at the forefront of the movement to have a “bipartisan” censure of Lott to make him face the “reality” of what he had said.

Following the petition effort begun by GOPUSA’s (web site) “Call for a Public and Official Rebuke of Sen. Christopher Dodd,” Project 21 believes it should go one step further.

“Senator Dodd’s statement is tasteless and wrong,” Martin declared. “It’s time for him to follow his own advice and leave.”