WASHINGTON – Between Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman's position that the Bush plan in Iraq is working and progress is being made and Rep. John Murtha's call for a speedy withdrawal, a vast number of differences plague Democrats about the war in Iraq.
Those differences pose a serious dilemma for one Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose presidential ambitions could impact her position on Iraq. Clinton is now scrambling to recast her pro-war image in the face of growing hostility from the anti-war left.
Click in the video box to the right to watch a report by FOX News' Major Garrett.
"Hillary does have an Iraq problem. Democrats hate the Iraq war and she's been pretty supportive of the administration's policies," said Democratic strategist Steve Murphy.
In a letter e-mailed to supporters the day before President Bush's Wednesday speech on U.S. strategy in Iraq, Clinton tried to mollify the left by embracing more dovish rhetoric on troop movements while sticking with much of the Bush Iraq policy.
"I do not believe that we should allow this to be an open-ended commitment without limits or end. Nor do I believe that we can or should pull out of Iraq immediately," she wrote.
Clinton went on to say: "America has a big job to do now. We must set reasonable goals to finish what we started and successfully turn over Iraqi security to Iraqis. We must deny terrorists the prize they are now seeking in Iraq."
Long-time Democratic opponents of the war said Clinton's move, though slight, might soften liberal criticism.
Clinton sent the Iraq letter after enduring withering attacks from left-wing columnists, bloggers and activists for leaving Iraq out of a recent re-election fund-raising letter that sought input on "critical national issues."
At an anti-war rally over Thanksgiving weekend, liberal activist Daniel Ellsberg dealt Clinton's list a heaping dose of derision.
"Education, health care, tax cuts, the economy, jobs, the environment, social security, reproductive rights, separation of church and state, homeland security — no mention of Iraq or the war; not on the list," he said to boos from war protesters.
Before that, Ellsberg tried to puncture Clinton's standing as the undisputed Democratic frontrunner in 2008.
"... Hillary Clinton, who everybody says has a lock on the Democratic nomination, and I have to hope that's not true," he said.
Clinton's list also prompted liberal Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin to declare: "Hillary Clinton today holds the new North American record for fakery."
On Arianna Huffington's Web site, liberal blogger Jeff Cohen said: "What I want this Christmas season is an anti-war Democrat to step forward to challenge Hillary Clinton in New York's upcoming primary for Senate. And I want a powerful anti-war Democrat to oppose her for the presidential nomination in 2008."
Despite this venom, Murphy said Clinton still has time to fine-tune her Iraq policy.
"If Clinton gets to 2007 with the policies she has today on Iraq, and the situation hasn't changed dramatically in Iraq, then Hillary Clinton will have a real political problem pursuing the Democratic nomination," he said.
Clinton's letter also said if Congress knew then what it knows now, the Iraq war question would never have come to a vote. That sidesteps persistent liberal demands that pro-war Democrats like Clinton admit they were wrong.