The War in Iraq preoccupied the US Senate yet again--and, yet again, was the networks' Story of the Day. The Armed Services Committee grilled Gen George Casey, appointed as the next Chief of Staff of the Army, about his leadership of the war effort in Baghdad. The Senate as a whole started to line up votes on opposition to President George Bush's policy of reinforcing the troops there. NBC led with the former; ABC led with the latter. CBS chose the economy instead, as new data showed personal spending exceeding personal income, producing a negative rate of savings.

The proposed Senate resolution in opposition to the troop build-up--calling it "not in the national interest"--is likely to be toned down, ABC's Jake Tapper (subscription required) reported, in favor of Sen John Warner's wording. The Virginia Republican's leadership means there is now "a good chance of winning a bipartisan majority." That compromise, in turn, has alienated some Democrats, because the resolution no longer threatens to cut off funds for the build-up, NBC's Chip Reid noted. And there remains a majority of the Republican caucus that supports the Bush plan: "The pressure on Republicans not to abandon the President is intense." ABC's George Stephanopoulos conceded that this resolution, whatever the wording, will have no impact on the President's policy. Yet it puts "Congress one step closer to using its Constitutional power to restrict funding…there would be no more intermediate steps." CBS did not cover the Senate resolution.

CBS' David Martin did report on the Casey hearings, where the general opposed the troop levels contained in Bush's Baghdad build-up: he asked for 11,000 more, roughly half of what the President ordered. "If he is confirmed Casey will be responsible for providing all those extra troops he did not want to send." NBC's Jim Miklaszewski heard Casey get an "unprecedented public reprimand" from senators. "Forever the good soldier, Casey refused to pass on any blame."


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