Courting the anti-war constituency, Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record) both voted against legislation that pays for the Iraq war but lacks a timeline for troop withdrawal.
“I fully support our troops” but the measure “fails to compel the president to give our troops a new strategy in Iraq,” said Clinton, a New York senator.
“Enough is enough,” Obama, an Illinois senator, declared, adding that President Bush should not get “a blank check to continue down this same, disastrous path.”
Their votes Thursday night continued a shift in position for the two presidential hopefuls, both of whom began the year shunning a deadline for a troop withdrawal.
On a vote of 80-14, the Senate cleared the measure and sent it to Bush.
Both Clinton and Obama have faced intense pressure from the party’s liberal wing and Democratic presidential challengers who urged opposition to the measure because it doesn’t include a timeline to pull forces out of Iraq.
Sen. Christopher Dodd (news, bio, voting record) of Connecticut, who also voted against the legislation, was among the Democratic candidates calling for rejection of it, along with former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
Of the four Democratic hopefuls in the Senate, only Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware supported the bill. He said he did so reluctantly because he viewed the measure as flawed. But he added: “As long as we have troops on the front lines, it is our shared responsibility to give them the equipment and protection they need.”