Democrats come up short on quicker U.S. Troop pullout from Iraq

by Steve Handlesman
NBC News

Democrats failed again Friday in the Senate to force a quicker U.S. pullout from Iraq.

They needed 60 votes to get American forces out of Iraq next year.

But the plan of President Bush and General David Petraeus to keep most U.S. troops in Iraq prevailed.

"We leave, Iran comes in, al Qaeda comes in.  All the advances, all the sacrifices, all the lives that have been lost, will have been lost in vain," said republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma.

The democrats were defeated on Iraq Thursday and Wednesday.

That prompted taunts Friday from republican war defender John McCain, when anti-war protesters disrupted his speech to the N.R.A.

McCain of Arizona said, "My friends we beat you yesterday. We beat you the day before.  We'll beat you today and we'll beat you tomorrow.  We won't choose to lose! We won't choose to lose this contest!

In Iraq Friday, another U.S. general said the surge is working.

But democrats will keep pushing a U.S. pullout.

"You gotta have a timetable!  And if it's not in law then at least it ought to be a goal. That's our goal and we're not gonna be discouraged," said Senator Carl Levin of Michigan.

If the war goes worse, Republicans could still switch sides.

NBC political analyst Chuck Todd said, "You can't declare that somehow Bush has won this fight for the rest of his term.  He has won it for the rest of this year. When that calendar flips to 2008, I think it's a new ball game."

The next round will come this fall when President Bush asks for up to 200 billion dollars more to fight the war.