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Security politics

 

In Iowa yesterday, Clinton, still trying to get out from under her vote in favor of the war, asserted that it would be "the height of irresponsibility" to pass the war along to the next president.  White House spokesman Rob Saliterman responded, "It is disappointing that Senator Clinton is responding to the President's new strategy for Iraq with a partisan attack that sends the wrong message to our troops, our enemies, and the Iraqi people who are working to make this plan succeed.  The height of irresponsibility would be to cap our troop numbers at an arbitrary figure and to cut off their funding."

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Joe Biden said yesterday on ABC that he estimates that no more than 20 of his colleagues support a troop increase.  Biden is expected to finally/formally enter the 2008 race this week.

On FOX yesterday, underdog 2008 contender and Sen. Sam Brownback (R), who opposes a troop increase, said, "'I think if the president would reach out to the Democratic leadership and ask them not what are you opposed to, but what are you for, we can start coming together.  I thought that was the whole purpose of [the Iraq Study Group].'" 

Columnist Robert Novak writes about how GOP Sen. John Warner's refusal to merge his own non-binding resolution with the one introduced by Biden and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) has imperiled the chances that Biden-Hagel could even get a majority  -- let alone enough to withstand a filibuster.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "faces a difficult choice.  He could crack the whip on Democrats to get a majority to pass the Biden resolution.  Or, he could swallow an unamended Warner resolution to win a bipartisan vote." 

A group of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans embark on a two-day media tour today to unveil a new ad opposing a troop increase.  The ad, sponsored by VoteVets.org, rebuts recent claims by the Bush Administration that those who oppose the increase are against the troops.  "On the other hand, there's George Bush, who supports escalation.  If you support escalation, you don't support the troops," the ad counters.  The group's ad buy will target key Senate Republicans, including Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Richard Lugar of Indiana, George Voinovich of Ohio, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Judd Gregg and John Sununu of New Hampshire, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and John Warner of Virginia.

Making her way home from the region, Pelosi told the San Francisco Chronicle that three days "in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan have made [her] even more certain of her view that moving troops out of Iraq is the best way to bring stability to the region." 

House Democrats may not be champing at the bit to consider the resolutions, but the Oversight and Government Reform Committee is preparing for three days' of hearings on the Administration's prosecution of the war starting on February 6.  "Any new disclosures about lax oversight or misspent funds could prove embarrassing to the Bush White House just as it is pressing for an additional $1.2 billion to spend on reconstruction and economic stimulus in Iraq," says the Wall Street Journal.  "The new funds are a central part of the president's plan to stabilize the country."

Both McCain and Clinton will be at Fort Sam Houston today to dedicate a new burn center.

And "a small army of anti-war activists will fan out across Capitol Hill to lobby for congressional support to impeach President Bush," reports The Politico, which notes what "a tricky issue" this will pose for Democrats in Congress who are trying not to go overboard in their opposition to Bush on Iraq.