Dodd received a big endorsement Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Saying that polls "don't mean spit," a major firefighters union announced its decision to endorse Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd's longshot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday.
During the last election cycle, the International Association of Fire Fighters was credited with boosting Sen. John Kerry's campaign. IAFF President Harold Schaitberger defended the union's decision to endorse Dodd, arguing that the members chose him because they think he has the "strongest record of leadership, of service, of honor."
"We've ignored the polls, we've ignored the campaign money and we ignore the pundits that are generally off base, especially this early out," Schaitberger said. He said that after looking at the candidates' records, the union unanimously decided that Dodd would be best in terms of "leading the fight to ensure that funding, resources [and] manpower needed to enhance our national security."
Schaitberger said he hopes the union can "make lightning strike once again" by helping Dodd's campaign on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire. Dodd said he thinks the union could provide a major lift for his presidential bid.
"I'm very confident that we're going to be doing better all the time, and this endorsement is a great boost for us," Dodd said. "We're in this to win this here, and I couldn't have a better organization in my corner than firefighters."
Dodd and Schaitberger will hit the trail together later this week in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
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