Last week, in a conversation with senior White House political aide Karl Rove, Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) warned that conservative support is quickly eroding for the war, and to stem the tide, Bush must institute a plan that begins the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Voinovich told Rove, “The president is a young man and should think about his legacy.” CNN reports:
Voinovich added that other Republicans are close to speaking out against the President’s current strategy. “I won’t mention anyone’s name. But I have every reason to believe that the fur is going to start to fly, perhaps sooner than what they may have wanted.”
In private, Voinovich is more blunt, using a profanity to describe the White House’s handling of Iraq by charging the administration “f–ed up” the war. [...]
A White House spokeswoman confirmed to CNN that Rove, who speaks with Voinovich frequently, had the phone conversation with the senator last week and they did discuss the President’s legacy. But the spokeswoman declined to provide further details, citing Rove’s desire to keep phone conversations with senators private.
Watch CNN’s report:
According to CNN’s Ed Henry, Voinovich is privately warning the White House that “if there’s not a dramatic new strategy [by September], he will endorse a Democratic plan mandating a timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops.”
Voinovich had an opportunity last week to put his tough talk into action, but failed to do so. Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced an amendment to provide more rest to members of the Armed Forces deployed overseas. Voinovich voted against that measure.
UPDATE: Greg Sargent labels Voinovich part of the “WINO caucus” — Waverers In Name Only.