From the AP
Despite the unpopularity of the Iraq war, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama predicted Thursday that Congress won't directly challenge President Bush's plans and will focus instead on putting a ceiling on the number of troops deployed to that country.
Obama, on the second day of a trip to Iowa, conceded that Democrats who control Congress lack the votes to cut off funding for the war or even to tie continued funding to a timetable for withdrawing troops.
The Illinois senator said the most likely scenario would be to grant troops more time at home between deployments, a politically popular step that's difficult to oppose and one that would have a practical impact.
"You have to at least give people a one-year break for every year served in Iraq," Obama said. "At least that would put a ceiling on how many troops could be sent there at any given time."
In his speech before about 300 people at a park in this eastern Iowa town of 6,100 people, Obama focused on his plan to begin pulling troops out of Iraq immediately and complete the withdrawal by the end of next year.
Obama spoke on the same day Bush was scheduled to address the nation, seeking support of his plan to maintain troop levels in Iraq until next summer, then withdraw about 30,000 troops if conditions are favorable. Bush has said he's basing his plan on the advise of the nation's military leaders.
Speaking with reporters, Obama dismissed Bush administration claims that an increase in troops has brought progress to Iraq.
"After an additional 30,000 troops and enormous sacrifice, we are back to where we were in June 2006," said Obama. "We have not made progress politically."