Politics

September 8, 2013

Washington Notebook: Vote on Syria strike laden with political jeopardy

With constituents saying nay, a 'yes' vote could be risky for Rep. Michaud in a tight gubernatorial race.

By Kevin Miller kmiller@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

For 2nd District U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, the vote on military action in Syria could be especially risky as he heads into a tight race for governor.

Telegram file photo/John Ewing

Those intelligence reports proved false, however, and the lack of WMDs in Iraq has since haunted the debate over a war that claimed thousands of American lives and cost trillions of dollars.

Collins said last week that Iraq is certainly on her mind as she considers strikes against Syria.

"It's affecting all of us who were here" in 2002, Collins said in an interview. "And that is one of the reasons that we have pressed the intelligence community so hard to make sure they have the highest confidence that chemical weapons were used and that it was ordered by the Assad government."

Collins said classified briefings she received as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee clearly link Assad to the Aug. 21 attacks. But she has not decided whether air strikes will achieve their goal or further inflame the situation, potentially dragging the U.S. into a larger conflict.

The White House is lobbying for her support.

On Friday, Collins got a call from Vice President Joe Biden as the White House tries to round up support for the targeted strikes. She and a group of Republican senators are also slated to join Biden for dinner on Sunday, days before a planned Senate vote on authorization.

MITCHELL BACK IN THE CAPITOL

Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, D-Maine, was back inside the Capitol on Friday as part of what the Office of the Senate Historian said was the largest gathering of former Senate majority leaders in history.

Mitchell, who served as majority from 1989 to 1995, attended a dinner in the Capitol that was hosted by the current occupant of the Senate's most powerful post, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. They were joined by former Republican Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Republican Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi.

"I am honored to be able to host this group representing two decades of bipartisan leadership in the Senate," Reid said in a statement prior to the dinner. "We have worked together through historic events and many ups and downs, and I feel personally privileged to enjoy the benefit of their company, conversation, and wisdom."

MAINER NAMED TO U.S. COMMISSION

President Obama named a Maine native to serve as one of six members of the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, which is developing a national strategy on the issue.

According to biographical information supplied by Michaud's office, Michael Petit serves as president and founder of the Every Child Matters Education Fund and previously held positions at the Child Welfare League of America. He was also commissioner of the Maine Department of Human Services from 1979 to 1987 and holds degrees from Bowdoin College and Boston College.

Kevin Miller can be contacted at (207) 317-6256 or at:

kmiller@mainetoday.com

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