Warner’s idea of a partial withdrawal may give moderate Republican senators up for reelection — such as Susan Collins of Maine and Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico — a chance to embrace a less radical change of course than what Democrats have advocated.Despite some reports tending to portray this news conference as a radical break with the administration, some Democrats are more doubtful:
Congressional Democratic leaders were skeptical about Warner’s rhetoric.And Warner still says he is opposed to any forced timetables.
“President Bush has to make a decision whether he is going to join a majority of Americans and Democrats and a growing number of Republicans who are calling for redeployment of our troops or he will continue the stay-the-course strategy in Iraq,” said Nadeam Elshami, spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
A Senate aide said Warner’s real test will come during votes on the Senate floor. “It’s still an open question about whether he will vote for anything. Making a recommendation to the president is far different than voting for a hard deadline in legislation.”