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Iraq

The New York Times looks at the upcoming showdown between the White House and Congress over the Iraq emergency spending bill -- and the withdrawal deadlines it contains. "While they are hoping to capitalize on Mr. Bush's unpopularity, Democrats acknowledged privately that they were uncertain how the finger-pointing would play out. Some recalled President Clinton's success in putting the blame on Republicans for a 1995 government shutdown."

The article adds this: "Democrats also say they intend to pare down some of the nonwar spending in the bill to quiet Republican accusations of pork-barrel politics."

The Wall Street Journal fleshes out that history from '95. "Some veteran Democrats say the situation is beginning to bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the partisan clash that led to a shutdown of the federal government in late 1995 and politically damaged the new Republican majorities in Congress. Back then, Republicans allowed a budget dispute with President Clinton to escalate to the point that federal employees were furloughed and many basic government services were halted, such as renewing passports and issuing veterans' disability checks. The standoff -- in which many observers say Republicans overreached -- helped Mr. Clinton regain his political momentum, setting him up for re-election the next year."

The Washington Times has Bush's warning from yesterday. "'Here's the bottom line: The House and Senate bills have too much pork, too many conditions on our commanders, and an artificial timetable for withdrawal,' Mr. Bush said. 'And I have made it clear for weeks, if either version comes to my desk, I'm going to veto it. 'It is also clear from the strong opposition in both houses that my veto would be sustained. Yet Congress continues to pursue these bills, and as they do, the clock is ticking for our troops in the field,' he said."

The New York Times, meanwhile, front-pages that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia said yesterday "that the American occupation of Iraq was illegal and warned that unless Arab governments settled their differences, foreign powers like the United States would continue to dictate the region's politics."

And the AP has this: "Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who has criticized the conduct of the Iraq war, said Wednesday the situation in Iraq is changing under a new commander and strategy. And Democratic rival Barack Obama, for one, ought to take notice, the Arizona senator said. ''If Senator Obama could take a few minutes out of his day to examine the early progress made by General Petraeus, I think he would realize the status quo is changing,' McCain said."