As required by Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, Members of Congress are bound to support the Constitution. We take the following oath: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter."
As the representatives of the American people, our job is in many ways quite simple: to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." There's no question in my mind that Democrats were given a majority in both the House and the Senate based on their promises to change the course of the country. We were elected to strengthen the nation by ending this war, restoring our standing in the world and returning the nation to an adherence to the rule of law. An integral part of that mandate was to reverse and stop the Bush Administration's assault on the Constitution.
Yet, we today are faced with the possibility that the Senate will see a renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that enables the Bush Administration to broadly eavesdrop on American citizens and provides for retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that helped them violate civil liberties and the law.
The Constitution of the United States belongs to the American people, not to the Bush administration. It is our responsibility as Senators and Congressmen to stand up and fight for it.
That's why I announced last week that I would put a "hold" on any FISA reform legislation that includes retroactive immunity for telecom companies -- and why, if my hold is not honored for some reason by the Senate Leadership, I pledge to filibuster to stop telecom amnesty from becoming law.
The need to honor our oath of office isn't limited to defending the Constitution. Anyone who has paid attention these last five years knows that there is no military solution in Iraq. We will be more safe and more secure when we get our troops out of Iraq. To continue on this failed course, to continue to fund our involvement in Iraq's civil war is, in my opinion, a dereliction of our oath of office as well.
The path forward is clear: it's time for Congress to set a date certain for withdrawal from Iraq and tie it to funding. If I could, I'd say we start bringing our troops home tonight to the heroes welcome they deserve. At the same time, we have to act to defend the rule of law and support the Constitution.
The truth is, I never thought I'd be running for President on a platform of restoring the Constitution and America's standing in the world or something as elementary as honoring the oath of office we take. But with our security at risk, we haven't any other choice. I haven't forgotten the words I first uttered on January 4th, 1975 and I will dedicate myself to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic until I take the oath of office on January 20, 2009 - this time, as the President of the United States. I hope you'll stand with me and ask your Senators to do the same as they consider further funding for the war in Iraq and retroactive immunity for telecom companies.
Learn more about my campaign at ChrisDodd.com.
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