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Inside Politics

Clinton, Obama war funding votes draw criticism

Story Highlights

• Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton voted against Iraq war bill Thursday
• Sen. John McCain called their actions 'the height of irresponsibility'
• Mitt Romney, a Republican candidate, called them 'undependable'
By Bill Schneider
CNN Senior Political Analyst
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The favored Democratic presidential candidates are facing criticism after they voted against a bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hillary Clinton, of New York, and Barack Obama, of Illinois, said they were not satisfied with the bill because it did not contain a timeline for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Sen. John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate, called Obama and Clinton's positions "the height of irresponsibility.'' (Watch both sides trade barbs over the vote Video)

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, further slammed the two Democrats.

"Their votes render them undependable in the eyes of men and women of the United States military and the American people,'' he said.

But Clinton shot back, asserting that her vote won't adversely affect her White House bid.

"I don't see that at all," she said. "The American people have been living now with this war for five years. I want to de-authorize it.''

It's one thing to support the troops in Iraq, but it's another to continue to support them without an end to the fighting, both contend. (Watch liberal slam his fellow Democrats Video)

"The country is united in our support for out troops, but we also owe them a plan to relieve them of the burden of policing someone else's civil war," Obama said.

Even the sole Democratic presidential candidate who voted for the funding bill essentially said he voted for a bill that he didn't agree with.

"I don't like the bill we just voted on, the one I voted for," said Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware. "It denies the American people a plan for a responsible way out of Iraq."

And it seems that the public agrees. In a poll just released by The New York Times and CBS News, 60 percent of Americans say the U.S. should have stayed out of Iraq.

Fewer than 1 in 4 Americans approve of the way President Bush is handling Iraq.

More than two-thirds of those surveyed said Congress should allow funding for the war on the condition that the Iraqi government meets bechmarks for progress. But more than 60 percent also favor a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2008.

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton say they voted against the war funding bill because it lacked a timetable for withdrawal.



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