Dodd stops being polite, and starts getting real

DODD STOPS BEING POLITE, AND STARTS GETTING REAL…. “The door is still open” to finding bipartisan common ground on a financial-regulation bill, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said. “But my patience is running out.

The architect of sweeping legislation that would revamp financial regulation took the Senate floor on Wednesday to accuse the Senate Republican leader of lying about the bill and being in Wall Street’s back pocket.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Ct., delivered a blistering 20-minute speech that included the revelation of a political talking points memo from a Republican strategist that was virtually verbatim to the criticism voiced Tuesday by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

McConnell had accused Dodd of drafting partisan legislation, even though the Banking Committee chairman has worked for roughly half a year with key Senate Republicans and incorporated many of their ideas into his bill. McConnell also said the bill continues controversial bank bailouts, which it does not.

“It’s a naked political strategy,” thundered a visibly upset Dodd. He held up a leaked memo attributed to GOP strategist Frank Luntz that advises Republican lawmakers to accuse Dodd and other Democrats of perpetuating bailouts for giant banks.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. The bill as drafted ends bailouts,” Dodd said, describing how regulators would get new powers to dissolve large financial institutions, even healthy ones if their size is deemed to threaten the broader financial system.

Dodd didn’t literally call Mitch McConnell a liar on the Senate floor, but he came awfully close.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.