The Politico's VandeHei and Harris have a pretty interesting statistic: "As the congressional session lurches toward a close, Democrats are confronting some demoralizing arithmetic on Iraq. The numbers tell a story of political and substantive paralysis more starkly than most members are willing to acknowledge publicly, or perhaps even to themselves. Since taking the majority, they have forced 40 votes on bills limiting President Bush's war policy. Not a single one has passed both chambers, even though both are run by Democrats."
*** UPDATE *** Politico has corrected its story. In an update to the article, Politico writes, "The original version of this story inaccurately stated that none of the 40 Democratic efforts to limit the Iraq war cleared Congress. None were signed into law, but one bill did make it to President Bush for his veto."
So Dems are actually one-for-40.
The pro-White House group Freedom's Watch announced that it's running print ads today in seven newspapers across the country targeting potentially vulnerable freshmen congressional Democrats. The ads urge Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Congress to fund the troops, and they feature an Iraq vet -- Andrew Robinson -- who sits in a wheelchair and says: "It is becoming more apparent every day that we are making real and significant progress in Iraq... Yet sadly, some in Congress seem more interested in playing politics than achieving victory… An American pullout would create instability in Iraq and allow it to become a breeding ground for terrorists. I made a great sacrifice to help defeat terrorism in Iraq…and I would do it again. It is time for Congress to show resolve, to put aside politics and to unite behind victory.
The Washington Post writes, "The economic costs to the United States of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so far total approximately $1.5 trillion, according to a new study by congressional Democrats that estimates the conflicts' 'hidden costs'-- including higher oil prices, the expense of treating wounded veterans and interest payments on the money borrowed to pay for the wars. That amount is nearly double the $804 billion the White House has spent or requested to wage these wars through 2008, according to the Democratic staff of Congress's Joint Economic Committee. Its report, titled 'The Hidden Costs of the Iraq War,' estimates that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have thus far cost the average U.S. family of four more than $20,000."
More: "War funding experts said that the committee's Democrats raise viable arguments but that some of the numbers should be met with skepticism. For example, it is difficult to calculate the precise impact of the Iraq war on global oil prices, and it is speculative to estimate how much the war will cost over time, as situations change daily on the battlefield."
The United Nations Foundation and its sister organization, the Better World Campaign, today release the findings of a research project (conducted by Democratic pollster Geoff Garin and GOP pollster Bill McInturff), which shows -- that 78% of all voters and 80% of swing voters think the US is less respected by other countries than it has been in the past; that 73% of voters are more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who understands that solutions to world problems require international cooperation; and that 70% of voters are more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who agrees that it is important for the US to work constructively with other countries to stop growing anti-American feelings.