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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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  • JIM LEHRER:

    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.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    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…

  • JIM LEHRER:

    The Biden-Gelb plan?

  • DAVID BROOKS:

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

  • DAVID BROOKS:

    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.

  • MARK SHIELDS:

    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.

  • JIM LEHRER:

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

  • MARK SHIELDS:

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

  • JIM LEHRER:

    But voted against letting it go to debate.

  • MARK SHIELDS:

    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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