WASHINGTON – Some congressional Democrats have suggested that to vote on a resolution on Iraq before the Nov. 5 election would be a mistake, arguing that lawmakers might base their rhetoric and votes not on principle, but on Election Day.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., suggested just that the other day when he said it is important for lawmakers to know how the United Nations feels before Congress makes up its mind.
President Bush seized on that sentiment Friday, and put Democrats in a pretty tight spot by casting the whole debate right smack in the middle of election-year politics.
"I don't imagine Saddam Hussein sitting around saying, 'Gosh, I think I'm going to wait for some resolution or not,'" Bush told reporters Friday. "If I were running for office I'm not sure how I would explain to the American people, 'You know, vote for me and oh, by the way, on a matter of national security I think I'm gonna wait for somebody else to act.' It seems to me, that if you are representing the United States, you ought to be making a decision on what's best for the United States."
Some Democrats are backing Bush. House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., has said that election-year politics should not be a consideration in a matter as grave as war.
And Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., a former vice presidential candidate who is also considered a 2004 presidential hopeful, has made himself the Republican commander-in-chief’s top Democratic ally against Saddam.
"I intend to work with members of both parties in the Senate and with the White House to draft a Senate resolution that will receive the broadest possible bipartisan support for the president, as commander-in-chief, as he works to protect our nation and the world from Saddam Hussein," Lieberman said.
Lieberman said it is the president's "prerogative" to seek a resolution on Iraq, and that most Democrats think the tide is turning on Capitol Hill -- that when push comes to shove, most Democrats will back Bush's chosen strategy.
Fox News' Carl Cameron contributed to this report.