On Iraq, Warner yesterday reiterated his call on the president to initiate a troop withdrawal, saying on NBC that Bush "has got to put teeth in these comments that we're not there forever." And if the president doesn't take his advice, he's holding out the possibility of joining Democrats in mandating a troop withdrawal. "I don't say that as a threat, but I say that is an option we all have to consider," Warner said.
He got some senatorial pushback on ABC's "This Week." "I don't think it's in our best interest to put so much pressure on the new Iraqi government that it absolutely collapses," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told ABC's Terry Moran. "I'm frustrated by the slow pace, but I don't think the solution is to pull the plug." And Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., pushed back at the president's comparison of Iraq to Vietnam: "We have good people implementing a bad strategy. It's just not the same situation."
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, meanwhile, is striking back at his congressional critics. "They should come to their senses," Maliki said, per ABC's John Hendren. No doubt this will quiet the criticism -- if you can't get tough with your own countrymen, why not attack those wacky Americans?
The Democratic National Committee slapped down Florida on Saturday, threatening to refuse to seat the state's delegates at next summer's convention if Florida Democrats don't find a new (later) way to choose those delegates. This may be left for the candidates to sort out by deciding whether or not to campaign in the Sunshine State -- precisely what the DNC hoped to avoid. "Beyond what is emerging as a clear embarrassment for the party, the practical results of this dispute were unclear," writes The New York Times' Adam Nagourney. "To a considerable extent, it could prove to be little more than a reminder of how little authority the party appears to have over its nominating process this year."
Here's something that could scare the DNC into backing down: The move "could give Republicans a big, early leg up in Florida's presidential election," writes Adam Smith of the St. Petersburg Times. "At a time when leading Republican presidential candidates are aggressively organizing in Florida, the move may discourage Democrats from starting comparable early efforts in Florida." Said former DNC chairman Don Fowler: "We have to enforce our rules, but we don't want to shoot ourselves in the head trying to heal a little cut on the hand."
Also in the news:
Former senator Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., showed no new leg and avoided specifics at his speech before the Midwest Leadership Conference in Indianapolis on Saturday. But "for a candidate who hasn't officially entered the presidential race, Fred Thompson arrived at the Indiana Convention Center on Saturday sure looking like one who had," writes Rob Schneider of the Indianapolis Star. Said Thompson: "We have more cynicism towards our leaders than we have had in a long time."