Sen. Barack Obama's shifting position on the FISA bill -- on Friday he released a statement saying that he supported the bill, and on Saturday announced that he would seek to strip out the section providing retroactive immunity to communications companies -- is being directed by aides to Sen. Chris Dodd, who also opposes the compromise legislation.
Dodd and senior Obama campaign and Senate staff have been speaking for close to a week on strategy to kill the bill as it became increasingly apparent that negotiations on the bill were coming to a successful end.
"Dodd is taking his marching orders from the far left, the ACLU, MoveOn, all the groups that have been lining up and raising millions off this issue for more than a year," says a Senate Republican leadership aide. "A similar version of this bill passed with more than 60 votes last time. We don't see it failing right now, but anything can happen."
Dodd, according to a Democratic leadership aide, went to Senate majority leader Harry Reid and asked to be placed front and center in opposition to the bill, in part, so that he could build vocal support for himself on the far left in the face of what should be a mounting scandal related to his pursuing and receiving a sweetheart mortgage deal.
"If all [Dodd] is doing is sitting back and taking it on the chin for the mortgage, he becomes an albatross politically. But now he gets the ACLU crowd all excited and supporting him, and Obama and others can associate with him because he appears to have strong public support,"
says the Democrat aide.
As it stands, MoveOn is demanding that Obama and Dodd lead a filibuster of the bill in the Senate, something Obama hasn't indicated he's willing to do.
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