COMMENTS: Pennsylvania Avenue

The inside-the-Beltway negotiations over funding for the Iraq War were covered by ABC and CBS from opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Progress consisted of Congress agreeing to one of President George Bush's demands, that the bill include no domestic spending. Otherwise, CBS' Jim Axelrod reported from the White House, it was "slow going." He outlined the President's offer that a list of 16 benchmarks to be met by the Iraqi government be tied to funds for economic aid, but not to funds for military operations.

On Capitol Hill, ABC's George Stephanopoulos previewed his Sunday interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for This Week. Pelosi's offer was that the Democrats' timeline for a troop withdrawal be accompanied by a potential Presidential waiver. When Bush turned down that formula, Pelosi hinted that he might get no money at all: "If the President says no accountability--'I want a blank check with a war without end'--we will oppose that." Axelrod thought the pressure is on the President: he has "every incentive" to make a deal happen. Stephanopoulos thought the pressure is on the Speaker: the timeline "is going to have to go."

NBC, meanwhile, profiled Anthony Schober, one of the seven soldiers from the unit of the Tenth Mountain Division that was ambushed last weekend. Jennifer London reported that Schober had been killed and the 4,000-man search for his trio of captured comrades is now entering its seventh day.


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