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GOP's Base Helps Keep Unity on Iraq

Democrats were also offering few concessions.

"What this is about is not who is comfortable or who is uncomfortable, whether we can all hold hands. This is about the fact . . . that American troops are dying for no good reason at this point," Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) said on the same show. "They are in a situation where they are being sacrificed because people want political comfort in Washington."

Activists on both sides of the impasse are mobilizing against compromise. Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, an antiwar umbrella group, has launched a television advertisement to rally pressure on Bush to sign the Democrats' bill.

Protesters plan to be in front of the White House today to unfurl a replica of the "Mission Accomplished" banner that served as a backdrop to Bush's speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln four years ago Tuesday declaring an end to major combat operations. Within 90 minutes of a veto, Americans Against Escalation will be holding news conferences in 24 states, and rallies are planned in hundreds of locations in the 36 hours after the expected veto -- all to keep pressure on Congress to defy Bush's demands for war funding without policy strings attached.

The conservative Web site Townhall.com has launched a pressure campaign with petitions and call-in efforts to lawmakers and talk radio, encouraging policymakers to "stay the course on the war on terror."

"We don't believe that you can wage a war with poll-tested numbers," House Republican Conference Chairman Adam H. Putnam (R-Fla.) said yesterday on CNN's "Late Edition." "Everybody knows war is ugly. But the fact of the matter is that defeating al-Qaeda in Iraq and bringing stability to that country is important to the security of this country."

Staff writer Shailagh Murray contributed to this report.


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