|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
A handful of Republicans who have distanced themselves from President Bush on the war in Iraq refused Tuesday to back a plan to withdraw American troops from the conflict, leaving Senate Democrats short of the support needed to force a vote on their proposal.
As the Senate headed into an all-night session complete with cots in Capitol meeting rooms and an antiwar vigil across the street, some Republicans who have gone public with their complaints about the war strategy also weighed in against the Democratic withdrawal plan as ill advised and driven mainly by partisan considerations.
“You wonder if they are more interested in politics than dealing with the substance of this,” said Senator George V. Voinovich, Republican of Ohio.
Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, labeled the Democratic plan calling for a troop pullout to begin within 120 days vague and unenforceable.
“If it did pass, it would lead to chaos in Iraq and a dramatic increase in casualties,” said Mr. Gregg, who is backing an alternative plan that incorporates the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.
Senators Richard G. Lugar of Indiana and Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico, two senior Republicans who recently delivered a high-profile criticism of the administration’s Iraq policy, also planned to oppose the Democratic plan, aides said.
But leading Democrats and three Republicans who have joined them in pushing for the withdrawal portrayed the proposal as the most concrete of the competing plans circulating in the Senate and the surest way to force a change in administration policy.