One side effect of Barack Obama’s vice presidential selection is that there is a new chairman (at least for now) of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. With Joe Biden hitting the campaign trail, the gavel of the committee will go to Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut. You may recall him from his participation in the 2008 presidential primary.

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Given that he is also chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which will no doubt be busy given the turmoil facing the American housing market, Senator Dodd will have an extremely full plate in the coming months.

For those less familiar with Senator Dodd, I’ll point out that his father was a prosecutor at Nuremburg and his oldest brother is a professor emeritus at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, all of which likely gears him toward an interest in international law. Dodd also has a keen interest in South America–an important region that is too often overlooked in foreign policy discussions.

Don’t worry though, Biden fans. According to Elizabeth Alexander, a foreign relations spokesperson for the Delaware Democrat, he’s watching from a distance and is still keeping close tabs on the committee’s affairs. Also, given the circumstances and the limited time left to legislate, it’s unlikely Dodd will venture too far from the course set out by Biden.

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