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Ned Lamont Backs Habeas Corpus -- and Chris Dodd

Ned Lamont has been laying low since his November loss to Joe Lieberman, Connecticut's Independent junior Senator. Yet now Lamont is stepping up to help Connecticut's senior Senator, Chris Dodd, promote his bill to restore habeas corpus and other rights that were revoked by last year's Military Commissions Act.

Lamont remains a popular figure among the netroots, which catalyzed his primary campaign and made him to the top candidate in netroots donations during the mid-terms. Now he is asking his Internet supporters to back Dodd's ambitious new bill, the "Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007."

"This legislation is a chance for the Senate to start asserting our true American values again by unequivocally rejecting the gravely mistaken Administration policies on detainee treatment - policies which have only made us less safe," Lamont wrote in a recent email to his national supporter list, driving traffic to Dodd's new website, Restore-Habeas.org. The website is part of Dodd's broader Internet campaign, including live-blogging at sites like Booman Tribune and buying ads on top blogs like Daily Kos and MyDD, to promote the legislation and his presidential campaign. As John Nichols recently explained, Dodd is making the Constitution and rule of law "central to his outreach to voters."

Of course, the Dodd Campaign welcomes Lamont's support of the legislation and Dodd's candidacy. Spokesperson Benvea Schulte told The Nation, "We are very pleased Ned Lamont is supporting Chris Dodd for President. He brings great energy and enthusiasm to our campaign effort, and we look forward to his support and that of others around the country as we move forward in our campaign."

But will any of Lamont's netroots magic rub off on Dodd?

So far, Dodd has not completely won over the top blogs in his own state, which were very influential in Lamont's race. A recent post on My Left Nutmeg commended Dodd's "Habeas campaign," but then lamented his "subservient" comments about his junior counterpart, Senator Lieberman, and offered some advice: "If he were merely to convey the same level of benign disregard towards Lieberman as Lieberman continually does towards him, Dodd would be the hero of the netroots and immediately gain traction in the race."

Over at the national blog Firedoglake, which offers a "yeasty mix of commentary, invective and inside jokes," according a recent New York Times profile, Dodd has been warmly received. In a chat last month, readers commended his work fighting torture, Iraq escalation and passing the Family Medical Leave Act. One commenter wrote Dodd's commitment to "speak out against torture" made him a "hero in [her] heart." But she made sure to add that she would vote for Gore or Edwards for in 2008.

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Originally posted at Campaign Matters, The Nation's new blog covering Campaign '08 from the White House and Congress to the grassroots and the netroots.