Feingold Draws Little Support for Censure - Yahoo! News
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, maneuvering to prevent a vote that could alienate swing voters. Republicans dared Democrats to vote for the proposal.
"Some Democrats in Congress have decided the president is the enemy," Vice President Dick Cheney' told a Republican audience in Feingold's home state.
Feingold, a potential presidential candidate, said on the Senate floor, "The president has violated the law and Congress must respond."
"A formal censure by Congress is an appropriate and responsible first step to assure the public that when the president thinks he can violate the law without consequences, Congress has the will to hold him accountable," Feingold said.
Even as he spoke, Democratic leaders held off the immediate vote that Majority Leader Bill Frist requested. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he didn't know if there ever would be one.
Throughout the day, Feingold's fellow Democrats said they understood his frustration but they held back overt support for the resolution.
Several said 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 news 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.
Across the Capitol, reaction was similar. Feingold's censure resolution drew empathy but no outright support from Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi "understands Sen. Feingold's frustration that the facts about the NSA domestic surveillance program have not been disclosed appropriately to Congress," her office said in a statement. "Both the House and the Senate must fully investigate the program and assign responsibility for any laws that may have been broken."
Hello! Yo Pelosi - it's not that they didn't tell Congress. It's that they broke the law and eavesdropped without a warrant. In defiance of established law.