Dodd decries hyper-partisanship in Senate farewell speech

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Sen. Christpher J. Dodd decried an era of corrosive hyper-partisanship in his farewell address Tuesday, saying the political system is “completely dysfunctional” and telling his fellow senators that they could be effective only by working together.

In an emotional goodbye after 30 years in office, the Connecticut Democrat bemoaned the gridlock that he says has overtaken the Senate, where his late father, Thomas Dodd, had served for 12 years before him.

“Intense partisan polarization has raised the stakes in every debate and on every vote, making it difficult to lose with grace and nearly impossible to compromise without cost,” Dodd said. “Americans’ distrust of politicians provides compelling incentives for senators to distrust each other, to disparage this very institution and disengage from the policy making process.”

In a departure from typical partisanship, Dodd received praise and a standing ovation from colleagues who sat listening on both sides of the aisle. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), after embracing Dodd, called his remarks “one of the most important speeches in the history of the Senate.”

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