BARRINGTON, N.H. (AP) _ Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd said Saturday the United States cannot afford to wait for President Bush's successor to end the war in Iraq.
``We really can't wait another 18 months,'' the U.S. senator from Connecticut said while campaigning. ''We have to have the convictions to stand up to this president.''
Dodd said the war has been waged ``for all the wrong reasons'' and that it is eroding both the nation's security and its moral leadership.
For those reasons, he said, it was not difficult for him to vote in the Senate against continued funding for the Iraq war. ``That wasn't a courageous vote. It was the right vote to cast,'' Dodd said. ``I don't know how you justify the status quo.''
Dodd, a vocal critic of the war in Iraq, said he won't stop suggesting ways to end the war. He was the only 2008 presidential candidate to co-sponsor the Democrats' most aggressive anti-war bill.
``We're going to go back at it again. What bothers me is that we're not stepping up and doing what's right,'' he said. ``Even the Republican leadership is now setting benchmarks, putting some parameters on the White House.''
Despite his opposition to the conflict, Dodd said the military members serving there deserve his support.
``Regardless of our views on Iraq, but these are remarkable men and women serving in Iraq,'' Dodd said on his Memorial Day visit to the first-in-the-nation primary state.
Dodd, despite more than 25 years in the Senate, trails in state and national polls and acknowledges he isn't keeping pace with rival campaigns' fundraising strength.
``We're doing pretty well, but not at the levels of others,'' Dodd said.
He said as more voters hear his opposition to the war, they'll become supporters.
``I realized I'm not as well financed as others. I realize I'm not as well known as others,'' Dodd said. ``But I can win the election in 2008 if I win this nomination.''