When Sen. John E. Sununu (R-N.H.) saw reporters approaching him last week, he took off in a sprint, determined to say as little as possible about a nonbinding resolution opposing President Bush's troop-escalation plan, which is expected to come before the Senate today.
"You know where I stand," the senator, who is considered politically vulnerable back home, said repeatedly as he fled down stairways at the Capitol. "I'm still looking."
The historic showdown to begin today represents the first bipartisan confrontation between Congress and the White House over the Iraq war since the invasion nearly four years ago. While the resolution will test the mettle of every member of the chamber, none will be challenged more than Sununu and the 19 other Senate Republicans facing reelection in 2008 -- many from states where voters are angry with Bush's war policy and want the troops to begin heading home.
"It's inevitable that people want to ascribe political motives to this, but I just hope a majority of Oregonians understand when it comes to issues of war and peace, there's no issue of greater gravity on your heart and mind," said Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), who must stand for reelection next year in a swing state.
Norm Coleman, Gordon Smith, John Sununu, and the rest of the GOP senators running for reelection are terrified of going on the record. They are running scared. Warner now speaking.
UPDATE: The Republicans didn't allow a vote. They just filibustered a non-binding resolution. What a bunch of yellow dogs!