Reid Talks About Iraq Strategy

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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid questioned Tuesday whether word of a possible British troop withdrawal from Iraq would pressure President Bush into changing his war strategy, and said Senate Democrats will move ahead with their own efforts to limit the president's authority.

Asked about the impact of a possible announcement by Prime Minister Tony Blair of a new troop withdrawal timetable, Reid, D-Nev., said he doubted whether "it would make too much difference" for Bush.

"Well, in the past they've ignored everybody. So they must ignore him too," Reid said. "Realistically it will give those of us who believe the course in Iraq is headed in the wrong direction ... more confidence that what we're doing is the right thing to do."

Reid also said Senate Democrats may move ahead on Monday with an
effort to limit the 2002 measure authorizing Bush's use of force in
Iraq. That move is planned despite a warning from Senate Republicans that it's certain to be vetoed and the veto would be upheld.

The new move follows a failed weekend effort by Democrats who
control the Senate to force debate on a nonbinding resolution
opposing Bush's deployment of 21,500 more combat troops to Iraq.

The 56-34 vote fell four short of the 60 needed, but Reid said the vote still showed a majority of senators voted against the escalation.

Reid also repeated his statement that Iraq "is the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of our country." He said the war can't be won militarily, and what's needed is a political and regional solution that involves those with "a larger stake in the neighborhood," including Iran.

Reid, in Carson City for a forum of most Democratic presidential candidates, also said he's not favoring any candidate at this point. He added it's "not the easiest thing to say" to the candidates - other than Hillary Clinton - that his son, Rory Reid, has signed on as her Nevada chairman.

"I can't put numbers on who's No. 1, No. 2, who's going to win. I'm going to stay neutral on this," Reid said, when asked about the decision by his son, a former state Democratic Party chairman and currently chairman of the Clark County Commission.

Reid also declined to criticize U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., who was one of several Republican senators not present for the weekend vote on Iraq.

"You haven't heard about our pact" to keep their differences out of the public, said Reid. "It's still there."

Reid commented at a news conference held prior to an address to the Nevada Legislature.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)