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Even Dems Don’t Support Feingold Censure Call

From a very disappointed Associated Press:

Feingold Draws Little Support for Censure

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Democrats distanced themselves Monday from Wisconsin Sen. Russell Feingold's effort to censure President Bush over domestic spying. Vice President Dick Cheney, visiting Feingold's state, called the resolution an "outrageous proposition."

"Some Democrats in Congress have decided the president is the enemy," Cheney told about 400 people at a GOP fundraiser in Depere, Wis. The crowd booed at the mention of Feingold's resolution.

"Don't hold back," Cheney said.

Feingold's fellow Democrats did just that Monday, with several saying they wanted first to see the Senate Intelligence Committee finish an investigation of the warrantless wiretapping program that Bush authorized as part of his war on terrorism.

Asked at a press conference whether he would vote for the censure resolution, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada declined to endorse it and said he hadn't read it.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said he had not read it either and wasn't inclined simply to scold the president.

"I'd prefer to see us solve the problem," Lieberman told reporters.

Feingold, a possible contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, released a five-page censure resolution that accuses Bush of violating the Constitution and the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

"Resolved that the United States Senate does hereby censure George W. Bush, President of the United States, and does condemn his unlawful authorization of wiretaps of Americans within the United States without obtaining the court orders required," the resolution states.

The resolution says censuring Bush also is warranted by "his failure to inform the full congressional intelligence committees as required by law, and his efforts to mislead the American people about the authorities relied upon by his administration to conduct wiretaps and about the legality of the program."

The only president ever censured by the Senate is Andrew Jackson, in 1834, for removing the nation's money from a private bank in defiance of the Whig Party, which controlled the Senate.

In 1999, Senate Republicans tried but failed to bring a censure resolution against President Clinton after he was acquitted by the Senate on House impeachment charges that he committed perjury and obstructed justice in the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Cheney dared other Democrats to support Feingold's resolution.

"The outrageous proposition that we ought to protect our enemies' ability to communicate as it plots against America poses a key test of our Democratic leaders," he said. "Do they support the extreme and counterproductive antics of a few or do they support a lawful program vital to the security of this nation?

"The American people already made their decision," Cheney added. "They agree with the president."

Feingold was the lone senator to oppose the 2001 Patriot Act. Two weeks ago, he was joined by only three other senators in opposing a renewal of the law with some new curbs on police powers. Feingold called the curbs meaningless.

But Feingold got his name in the papers.

So it wasn't a complete waste of time.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, March 13th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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