Yet again Congress was the center of inside-the-Beltway newsmaking. With today's three Capitol Hill reports, it has now overtaken the White House (24 reports v 21) as a dateline for nightly news coverage in the weeks since the State of the Union. President George Bush has asked for an extra $100bn for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan "without strings and without delay." All three networks covered the Democrats' proposal to add those strings.
NBC's Chip Reid described the plan as "all troops out by September 2008," and even earlier if "security, political and economic goals" are not met. CBS' Sharyl Attkisson summarized those benchmarks as Iraq "taking over its own security, holding new provincial elections and finalizing plans to distribute the country's oil wealth." If the Democrats' plan passes, Attkisson added, the President has promised a veto: "It may never come to that," she pointed out. Passage will be "very tough in the Senate." ABC's Jake Tapper envisaged a "vicious fight" ahead. He characterized the difference between the two parties thus: the Democrats want "an end" to US involvement in Iraq; Republicans want "a successful end."
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