A day can seem a decade when you're someplace you don't want to be. Especially when that place is a war zone.

Democrats and Republicans don't differ much in their assessments of how long American troops will need to stay in Iraq, but they differ greatly when it comes to having patience with the length of that deployment, according to a nationwide Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted last weekend.

When asked how long they thought the United States would need to keep forces in Iraq, the two groups of partisans guesstimated similarly: About one in four said forces will be out within a year, between 32 and 40 percent guessed a few years, and between 20 and 23 percent said it will be five years or more.

But even when they saw the length of the mission in similar terms, Democrats and Republicans parted dramatically in their evaluations of this time commitment. For example, among Democrats who forecast that troops would remain in Iraq for a few years, a solid majority (64 percent) said this is "too long." A large majority of Republicans, on the other hand, saw the same amount of time as "about right."

Although a narrow majority of Democrats (53 percent) now say they would like to see troop levels decreased in Iraq, only 20 percent supported an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces.

FBI Whistle-Blower Aims for House

Coleen Rowley, the FBI whistle-blower who was named one of Time magazine's Persons of the Year in 2002, said this week that she plans to challenge Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) for his Twin Cities area congressional seat.

Rowley, who retired last year after blasting the FBI for not pursuing her complaints that it ought to investigate terrorism suspect Zacarias Moussaoui before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, is running as a Democrat because she believes Kline is too close to the Bush administration.

"He's voted last year in lock step with the Republican leadership 99 percent of the time. Being an elected representative, I think that you should be a critical thinker and judge what your constituents' interests are more so than just voting in a blind way with the leadership or with the Bush administration," she said. ". . . I'm concerned about the direction that the country has gone in since the attacks."

Kline, who won his second term last year, declined to comment on the announcement.

'Maddog' Joining DeLay's Team

Kevin Madden, who was President Bush's campaign press secretary for the Northeast and Ohio and is now press secretary to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, is taking on one of the more formidable communications jobs in Washington.

On July 11, he will become communications director to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), who faces persistent questions about travel and campaign-finance issues.

DeLay also is outspoken on conservative causes and does much of the official speaking on the House Republican agenda, adding to his office's load.

Madden, 33, is known to friends as "Maddog." He graduated from State University of New York College at Cortland, where he played lacrosse, and worked for Rep. John E. Sweeney (R-N.Y.).

A source close to DeLay said: "Madden's aggressive work ethic is a good fit for the office and his optimistic, upbeat personality should inject a new energy."

Madden replaces Dan Allen, a former communications director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Allen joined the DeLay office in January and had his last day there on Friday. He is joining the Republican media firm of Scott Howell and Co. as vice president of political and corporate communication.

Staff writer Mike Allen contributed to this report.