Dodd left Iowa for Capitol Hill Monday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With just weeks until the pivotal Iowa caucuses, presidential candidate and Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd has abandoned the Hawkeye State to lead a filibuster against a controversial measure that would give special legal protections to the telecom industry.
“Given the choice of having to cancel a bunch of meetings in Iowa or being at [the Capitol], obviously politically with 14 or 15 days to go you don’t have to have a Ph.D. in political science to know where you’d rather be,” he told reporters Monday.
Dodd, who is registering in the low single digits in Iowa, received a major fundraising boost two months ago when he first announced his intention to filibuster the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The Connecticut Democrat has criticized the proposed renewal of government spying powers, insisting it gives too much power to secret agencies and lets large telecommunications firms off the hook for handing over reams of private data on American phone calls and e-mails.
Under the measure being considered this week, telecom firms would be given legal immunity from invasion of privacy lawsuits that result from the release of this information to government officials.
“Why not your medical records the next time? Why not your financial records the next time?” Dodd asked in a fiery Capitol news conference. “When do you put your foot down? When do you say enough is enough?”
For now, Dodd is in the minority on the issue. The bill he opposes easily cleared a procedural hurdle on Monday.
That has not stopped his campaign from using the issue against three of his Democratic presidential rivals, noting that sitting Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware, Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois had all earlier pledged to stand with Dodd when the legislation came up for consideration by the Senate.
“I’m still hoping these candidates would come back,” Dodd said Monday. “It would raise the temperature on this issue.”
The final vote on the measure is expected later this week.
- CNN's Lisa Desjardins and Rebecca Sinderbrand