Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) made his decision to retire with virtually no pressure from the White House, according to several sources familiar with his final decision.
“No, the President did not call him,” said one source close to Dodd. “In fact, the truth is that the White House has been extraordinarily cooperative and generous with Dodd.”
President Barack Obama visited Connecticut once already to fundraise for Dodd, while Vice President Joe Biden has made two trips to fundraise for his former Senate colleague. Dodd also has a strong relationship with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel and top Obama adviser David Axelrod used to be his media consultant.
“They may be secretly relieved, but they’ve been great,” added the Dodd source.
John Olsen, head of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, said that Dodd phoned him this morning with the news that he was retiring.
“I believe he came to it on his own,” Olsen said. “I don’t think he was pushed.”
Olsen added that he believed Dodd also wanted the freedom to direct his attention towards reforming the economy and health care over the next few months, given his chairmanship of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and his lead on health care on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
“I think Dodd sees these issues left in the U.S. Senate while we still have these majorities is critical,” Olsen said. “I really think he sacrificed himself as a politician for the good of the nation, the United States Senate, the nation and his family.”