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Senate Delays Resolution Vote; Giuliani Enters Presidential Race

The Senate delayed a vote on a proposed resolution opposing President Bush's Iraq plan, while former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani entered the 2008 presidential race. Analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks discuss these and other political stories.

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    The war resolution struggle first. Mark, what happened with the Senate? What's going on over there?

  • MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist:

    Well, in the central issue of our time, as we listen to Judy's interview with George and Ann, Iraq slips further into the abyss. And the Congress could not — the Senate could not come to grips on a nonbinding resolution to debate this issue of war and peace.

    I guess it's of some cold consolation to the Democrats, who didn't look particularly effective, that the Republicans may have looked even less so or worse. But it's a forum where great issues of war and peace have been debated in our history, the Senate; that was not the cause this week, and they failed.


    Who are the villains? Are there are villains here? There are certainly no heroes. Who are the villains?

  • DAVID BROOKS, Columnist, New York Times:

    No, it was an embarrassment, and it was a typical embarrassment. They're responding in short-term ways to each other's tactical moves.

    And so, within the little game they're playing, each move made sense. Viewed from the outside, it was insane, and I think they know that. And, privately, they were having really serious discussions.

    Hillary Clinton just came out with a policy; Obama has a policy; the presidential contenders have policies. The Republicans more or less voted together, but privately they have a thousand different approaches. And so there is substance behind the scenes.

    And even in the White House — you know, George Packer, who's been one of our best reporters on Iraq, talked about how the White House is the same strategy, which is national reconciliation in Iraq.

    But I was told this week something which I didn't know, and which really hasn't been reported, is that they've stopped talking about that national reconciliation, stopped talking about a national compact, and they're beginning to look at more federal decentralized solutions…


    The Biden-Gelb plan?


    Well, they wouldn't go that far, but they're really…


    So there's movement in the White House. There's a ton of movement in the Senate. And none of it could come out in the public, because of stupid tactics.


    There was a level of embarrassment, I think, on the part of particularly the seven Republicans who had voted on Monday to not to go forward with the debate.


    That was the — it was very complicated, but had to do — they needed 60 votes to have cloture so they could go ahead.


    That's right. And seven who are on record in support of the resolution of disapproval of the increase in troops.


    But voted against letting it go to debate.


    Letting it go to debate, have expressed now, — belatedly, but nevertheless, I think, sincerely — some commitment to keeping this issue, raising it. The best I found out this afternoon was it will be the 26th of February before it comes up again in the Senate. But it will be in the House next week.

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