The following is the complete transcript of the Ames Progressive‘s interview with Connecticut Senator and former presidential candidate Chris Dodd from when he visited Iowa State University on a campaign stop November 27 of last year. The majority of this transcript was featured in the December 2007 article “Why Won’t You Let Me Say What I Want to Say?!: Second Tier Candidates and the Media.”
Gavin Aronsen: What are the implications of [what the Talk Clock reveals]?
Chris Dodd: I could go out and have dinner and come back sometimes before I get the first question at these things. So it’s not about informing the public. It’s about Nielsen Ratings. It’s about money. They have seven or eight of us up there, but they always focus on the ones who they think are going to keep the viewership rather than informing the public. There are others up there who have a lot more to say and contribute to this debate, but they don’t give us the chance.
GA: The Iowa Democratic Party, most notably with [Ohio Representative Dennis] Kucinich and [former Alaska Senator Mike] Gravel, didn’t invite [all the candidates] to a couple events. … Have you had any pressures like that?
CD: No, not yet.
GA: A Fox News [Channel] microphone picked up something between Hillary [Clinton] and [John] Edwards.
CD: About trying to keep some people out of the debate?
CD: Again, it’s not only about keeping people out. They’re hardly debates. They’re hardly that. They’re more entertainment. We’ve had no discussion, really, about education yet. We’ve had very limited discussion about the economy of the country. We spent five minutes on UFOs. It’s insulting, really, to the American public and insulting to serious candidates.
GA: What is the solution?
CD: We’d probably ought to have [debates] where you’d spend less time on one subject matter, so you’d [have] to [have] more than a sound byte answer to questions, so they could probe you a little bit deeper than some bumper sticker applause line you’ve got lined up.
Maybe rotate around so you’d get two or three people and mix it up each week on a single subject matter so you don’t have eight people lined up, where it is very difficult to remember who said what along the way.
There are a lot of different ways that this could be done. I actually went to John McCain and said, “How about you and I, sitting down one hour every two weeks, you pick a subject and I’ll pick a subject, no moderator, and we’ll have a civil conversation about some of the important issues of the day with our different perspectives.”
GA: Would it be aired on television?
CD: Yeah. But he didn’t want to do it.