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StateSide:Policy
Smackdown
McCain and Voinovich in Private Clash
Politico Recounts Senate Fights Over Al Qaeda Presence in Iraq
07/11/2007 5:24 PM ET
Senator John McCain, R-AZ
Jim Watson/Getty
Senator John McCain, R-AZ

The recent flood of Republican members of Congress who have begun to waiver in their support of President Bush's strategy in Iraq has created clear strains in what has been a remarkably unified GOP for most of his administration.

Such public differences of opinion has many wondering if a bitter rancor has invaded the Republican cloakroom, and today he Politico recounts an anecdote the illustrates how strained GOP relations have become on the topic of the war.

John Bresnahan writes that after John McCain made his heated statement on the Senate floor, he had an even more heated private exchange with Sen. George Vionovich.

In what one senator called "the most serious fight that I have seen in my time in the Senate," McCain clashed with Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) over the Arizona senator's assertion that the most dangerous threat facing U.S. troops in Iraq was Al Qaeda members.

Voinovich, who recently urged President Bush to change his war policy now, shot back that Al Qaeda "wouldn't be in Iraq" if American forces weren't there, according to people who witnessed the exchange.

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