Kerry, Dodd bear no tidings from Damascus

US Senators John Kerry and Christopher Dodd did not bring any message from Syrian President Bashar Assad to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when they met with him Thursday, officials in the Prime Minister's Office said. Kerry and Dodd met Assad in Damascus on Wednesday, in a meeting criticized earlier in the week by Sen. John McCain when he was here. Officials in the Prime Minister's Office said Kerry and Dodd did not try to convince Olmert to engage in a dialogue with Assad, and "were not impressed" by what they heard in Damascus. The two senators also met Thursday with Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. Kerry, according to Israeli officials, said during the meeting with Livni that the US commitment to Israel was not going to change as a result of the mid-term elections that gave control of the House and Senate to the Democrats, and support for Israel was a bipartisan issue. Kerry was the unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, and Dodd is being touted as a possible presidential candidate in 2008.