DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Veteran U.S. Sens. Joe Biden and Chris Dodd dropped out of the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday after placing a distant fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Iowa caucuses.
Biden of Delaware and Dodd of Connecticut offered perhaps the most experience among the Democratic contenders, having each served in Congress for more than a quarter century. Both chaired powerful committees.
But they came up far short in the race for the White House with polls showing Americans demanding change.
“This evening Democrats sent a clear message that this party is united in our belief that our nation needs change to restore our security, our middle class and all that makes this country great,” Dodd, 63, told supporters in conceding defeat.
Biden, 65 — buoyed in recent days by big crowds and an increase in campaign donations — said earlier he intended to stick in the race at least until the end of the month. But after the Iowa votes were in, he was out.
Both lawmakers are key figures in the Democratic-led Senate, with Biden chairing the Foreign Relations Committee, which has held hearings examining the unpopular Iraq war, and Dodd heading the Banking Committee, which is eyeing reform to the subprime mortgage market.
Biden, a frequent guest on Sunday TV talks shows who drew good reviews for his performances in Democratic debates, had voiced frustration about his White House bid while freshman Sen. Barack Obama, former Sen. John Edwards and Sen. Hillary Clinton dominated the headlines.
“I’m not a superstar,” Biden told Reuters in an interview last month. “People say they like me, people tell me they think I’d be a good president but that they just don’t think I can win.”
To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at blogs.reuters.com/trail08/