Potentially historic presidential candidates, a new strategy in a very old Iraq and a burgeoning conflict in Iran are marking the 2007 political landscape.
The Republican party has been fairly quiet about the 2008 election, putting forth only one major candidate, Senator Samuel D. Brownback of Kansas.
However, the Democratic party’s candidates are making headlines with a couple of firsts: Hillary Rodham Clinton, who would be the first female President if elected, and Barack Obama, who would be the first African-American President.
One major issue for presidential candidates will be Iraq, especially after President Bush’s announcement Jan. 10 that 21,500 more troops will be sent to Iraq.
The announcement has already caused turmoil in the Senate, which has considered a series of resolutions opposing the additional troops in Iraq, ranging from cutting off funding for those troops to a Republican proposal still on the table outlining 11 goals the Senate would like the Iraqi government to accomplish.
As of Feb. 3, the Senate was planning to debate a bipartisan resolution created by Republican Senator John W. Warner, which would express opposition to President Bush’s decision to send more troops to Iraq.
That debate, however, has met with some resistance from other Republicans. Party leader Mitch McConnell has threatened that the party will block the debate unless the Senate also considers the Republican resolution.
The conflict with Iraq has also affected U.S. relations with Iran, as President Bush has accused Iran of aiding the Iraqi opposition and has claimed that Iranian operatives have been captured in Iraq.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Feb. 2 that the United States does not plan to go to war with Iran, but that the U.S. focus is on preventing the making and using of explosively formed projectiles.
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