Presidential politics

Each of the four Democratic senators in the 2008 White House race has or will have legislation with his or her proposal for getting U.S. soldiers out of Iraq.

Each of the four Democratic senators in the 2008 White House race has or will have legislation with his or her proposal for getting U.S. soldiers out of Iraq.

And it is highly unlikely any of them will become the lead names on whatever is the official Senate Democratic leadership bill.

While the 2008 playing field in the early-primary states is not even —what with the over-the-top attention given to hopefuls Sens. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much Obama urges voters to 'demand better' after Trump rolls back fuel standards Trump administration rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards MORE (D-Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) — the floor of the Senate is level.


The latest bill was filed on Tuesday by Obama and includes a goal of redeploying troops from Iraq by March 31, 2008.

Obama, Clinton and the other Senate Democratic contenders — Joseph Biden (D-Del.), who filed his papers for the Federal Election Commission yesterday, and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) — all want to put their plans, concepts and ideas in play.

Clinton acknowledged how hard it will be to pass a piece of signature legislation. When she proposed cutting money to support Iraqi personnel, she noted the challenge with a pithy statement. “I can count,” she said.

Democratic Senate leaders want to first deal with the non-binding resolution and get a healthy bipartisan roll call on a measure that will send a strong message to President Bush that the Senate disagrees with his plans to send 21,000 more troops to Iraq.

The votes on the “surge” or “escalation” resolution will provide the leadership with a valuable roadmap on how to proceed on tougher legislation forcing Bush’s hand on first capping and then withdrawing troops. The bigger-picture items will likely come up in consideration of the budget or in supplemental spending requests.


Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidGOP embraces big stimulus after years of decrying it Five Latinas who could be Biden's running mate Winners and losers from Super Tuesday MORE (D-Nev.) will likely pick as the leader someone who is not running for president. Reid would face a management nightmare if he was perceived as picking a favorite from the pack. Reid’s flock includes two members who have already dropped out of the 2008 field, Sens. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and John KerryJohn Forbes KerryBiden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much Longtime Biden adviser posthumously tests positive for coronavirus The Hill's 12:30 Report: House to vote on .2T stimulus after mad dash to Washington MORE (D-Mass.)

The logical names to be on whatever is the leadership bill would be Sens. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Stimulus bill has .5B for Pentagon | Money would be blocked from border wall | Esper orders 60-day freeze for overseas troop movements Senate panel switches to 'paper hearings' amid coronavirus pandemic Rand Paul's coronavirus diagnosis sends shockwaves through Senate MORE (D-R.I.) and Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinSenator Tom Coburn's government oversight legacy The Trumpification of the federal courts Global health is the last bastion of bipartisan foreign policy MORE (D-Mich.). They authored the measure that was the official Democratic position in the last caucus. By doing that, no one in the Dem 2008 pack gets helped — but no one gets hurt, either.

Watch for more of the 2008 primary campaign to be played out in the Senate because of the number of senators who are running. If the senators can’t get the attention of the national press in the crucial primary states, they can play to the gallery in Washington.

The four Democratic 2008 rivals are joined by the three Republicans aiming at a run for president, Sens. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.); Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelMore than 100 national security professionals urge Trump to invoke Defense Production Act Almost 100 former officials, members of Congress urge Senate action on election security GOP Senate candidate said Republicans have 'dual loyalties' to Israel MORE (R-Neb.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much Juan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal Ernst calls for public presidential campaign funds to go to masks, protective equipment MORE (R-Ariz.), who casts a long shadow on his lesser-known colleagues.

Inside Dem retreat: The House Dems gathering at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., are asking some of the nation’s highest-profile Democratic governors for advice. The theme of the retreat is “governing for a new direction.” A Friday-morning panel features Janet Napolitano of Arizona, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusJerry Moran: 'I wouldn't be surprised' if Pompeo ran for Senate in Kansas Mark Halperin inks book deal 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care MORE of Kansas and Eliot Spitzer of New York.

Sweet is the Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times. E-mail: