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Democrats Preemptively Surrender on Surrender Plan


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Obama says Congress will fund Iraq war after expected Bush veto

By Mike Glover


10:13 a.m. April 1, 2007

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – If President Bush vetoes an Iraq war spending bill as promised, Congress quickly will provide the money without the withdrawal timeline the White House objects to because no lawmaker “wants to play chicken with our troops,” Sen. Barack Obama said Sunday.

“My expectation is that we will continue to try to ratchet up the pressure on the president to change course,” the Democratic presidential candidate said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I don't think that we will see a majority of the Senate vote to cut off funding at this stage.”

Obama, D-Ill., has made his opposition to the war a centerpiece of his campaign and has used it to differentiate himself from rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., who voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq.

In the interview, Obama pointed to a speech he gave five months before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. In that address, Obama warned of grave consequences if the U.S. went into Iraq.

Obama noted on Sunday that the speech came about the same time the Senate was considering the use of force authorization.

“I think that it's important for voters to get a sense of how the next president will make

decisions in a foreign policy arena,” said Obama, who is in his first term as a senator.

“There are a number of senators who have acknowledged they got bad information or might have made a different decision. What I've tried to suggest is the speech I gave five months before we went to war shows how I think about the problem,” he said.

Clinton has refused to repudiate her vote but has criticized the conduct of the war, saying “if we knew then what we know now” she never would have voted as she did.

Given that Bush is determined to veto a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, Congress has little realistic choice but to approve money for the war, Obama said.

“I think that nobody wants to play chicken with our troops on the ground,” said Obama. “I do think a majority of the Senate has now expressed the belief that we need to change course in Iraq.

“Obviously we're constrained by the fact that a commander in chief who also has veto power has the option of ignoring that position,” Obama said.

The Senate last week approved a bill providing $123 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It would order Bush to begin withdrawing troops within 120 days of passage while setting a nonbinding goal of ending combat operations by March 31, 2008.

The House's version, passed March 23, would require that combat troops come home from Iraq before September 2008 – or earlier if the Baghdad government did not meet certain requirements.

The Senate is on vacation now for a week and the House for two weeks, so it will take time for a compromise to pass both chambers and get to the White House. If Bush vetoes the measure, the new bill that Obama describes would have to be written and put to votes.

The senator said it is up to war opponents to be vocal about their position.

“If the president vetoes this, the American people have to continue to put pressure on their representatives so that at some point we may be able to get a veto-proof majority for moving this war in a different direction,” the senator said.


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