Dodd & diaper service

At nearly every gathering in which I have seen Connecticut Senator/Democratic presidential candidate Christopher Dodd give a speech or offer remarks, he has told the same joke.  It’s the one about how he is the only candidate who gets mailings from AARP and diaper services.  This lets the white-haired Dodd, who will be 63 when he celebrates his next birthday at the end of this month, tell the crowd that he is the father of a two-year-old and a five-year-old.

Dodd just told the joke over the noon hour during his appearance before a group of young Iowa Democrats, some of whom I presume have children.  I just listened back to the tape and Dodd sort of raced through the joke, and I didn’t hear any laughter.  Checking the Des Moines phone book, there are no diaper services listed.  I called directory information, and didn’t find one that way, either.  I called two laundry services in Des Moines and neither of the people who answered the phone had ever heard of being asked to launder cloth diapers.

As Dodd was walking out of the restaurant where he had just given his 20-minute speech, followed by about 20 minutes of answering questions, I began asking about the joke.  "You always tell that joke about the AARP and diaper services," I started.

"They hadn’t heard it," Dodd quickly interrupted, referencing his noon-time audience.

"But I’m wondering how a guy tells a joke like that, obviously exhibiting that he has the coin for a diaper service, and how he squares that with his discussion of how the middle class is being pinched," I continued.

"It was a joke," Dodd said.  He laughed and walked away.

Earlier, before the crowd of young Democrats gathered in the back room in Jimmy’s American Cafe in West Des Moines, Dodd gave his 20 minute speech standing behind a lectern where microphones and tape recorders from the newspaper reporters were stacked.  The television cameras left when he opened it up for questions, so Dodd walked around in front of the lectern — and away from the Radio Iowa microphone — to interact with the audience.  So I have no tape of Dodd outlining his ideas on energy (according to my hand-written notes, he wants to require that all automobiles made in the US get at least 50 miles to the gallon, and he’d impose a carbon tax on businesses). 

Dodd was behind the microphone, giving his 20-minute opening, when he declared that he would win the Iowa Caucuses.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. desmoinesdem says

    As the mother of two kids in cloth diapers, I can tell you that there are no cloth diaper services anywhere in Iowa. There are cloth diaper sellers, but there are no services that will pick up and wash your diapers (not that I would bother with that expense–it’s not much trouble to wash them yourself).

  2. Yep, he told it again today in West Liberty…

  3. From “Note to politicians: if you’re going to make dozens of speeches in Iowa, try to mix up your comedy routines so you don’t bore the professional hecklers.
    Democratic contender Sen. Chris Dodd learned that lesson on his latest trip to Des Moines on Thursday.”

  4. Actually, Des Moines does in fact have a diaper service.