Democrats in the Senate pulled off a surprise victory yesterday in their bid to force President Bush to bring troops home from Iraq—deflecting a GOP effort to kill the troop withdrawal plan. The Democrats’ proposal sets a March 2008 deadline for ending the conflict and is folded into a must-pass $122 billion package to fund the war.
Republican Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a possible presidential contender, defected in a 50-48 split, as did Republican Gordon Smith and Democrat Mark Pryor. Bush has vowed to veto any troop withdrawal plan. But the Democrats promise further action. "This is not one battle. It's a long-term campaign," says Charles Schumer.