By Chris Outcalt
Posted: Friday, August 10, 2007
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., responds to a question about NAFTA during a presidential forum hosted by the AFL-CIO at Soldier Field in Chicago, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2007.
PORTSMOUTH — Sen. Chris Dodd will tour the Seacoast on Saturday — a week after debuting his universal health care plan, sparring with Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly and criticizing both Democratic front-runners for their stances on foreign policy.
The veteran senator from Connecticut will visit the Portsmouth Farmers Market at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday at City Hall before heading to Newmarket, where he plans to tour downtown. Dodd will also attend a party at 1:30 p.m. in Exeter at the home of Joe and Sarah Pace.
Last week, Dodd rolled out his version of a universal health care plan that would draw its startup money from defunding the war in Iraq.
"I think the system (we have now) is terribly broken and everyone has to come together to fix it," said Dodd at a kitchen table discussion with a handful of Iowa residents. "I have a great deal of confidence that I can bring people together to get this to work."
The Dodd health care plan would take four years to fully implement, require no additional taxes, eliminate discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and would be portable, said the candidate.
The kitchen table health care meeting was broadcast on Dodd's Web site and was viewed live by more than 1,300 people, according to the campaign. The senator also recently appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" and contested what he called attacks by O'Reilly on the political blog DailyKos.
Dodd questioned O'Reilly for what he said was a negative characterization of DailyKos by selectively highlighting a few objectionable comments posted on the site.
"I hope that our discussion today reminds Bill that a free press is at the very heart of this nation's values," said Dodd in a statement following his appearance on the program. "The blogosphere is enormous — and to exploit such a tiny fraction of it in such a way is ludicrous, especially considering that Bill himself has said some things in the past that he may not want distorted."
Dodd was also busy earlier this week announcing a joint plan with Sen. Chuck Hagel to repair and replace the country's aging infrastructure. The senators unveiled their plan the same day a Minneapolis bridge collapsed during rush hour.
The Hagel-Dodd bill, called the National Infrastructure Bank Act of 2007, calls for the creation of an independent national bank that would identify, evaluate and help finance large infrastructure projects of regional and national significance.