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By LAURIE KELLMAN
Wisconsin Sen. Russell Feingold accused fellow Democrats on Tuesday of cowering rather than joining him on trying to censure President Bush over domestic spying.
"Democrats run and hide" when the administration invokes the war on terrorism, Feingold told reporters.
Feingold introduced censure legislation Monday in the Senate but not a single Democrat has embraced it. Several have said they want to see the results of a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation before supporting any punitive legislation.
Republicans dismissed the proposal Tuesday as being more about Feingold’s 2008 presidential aspirations than Bush’s actions. On and off the Senate floor, they have dared Democrats to vote for the resolution.
"I’m amazed at Democrats … cowering with this president’s numbers so low," Feingold said.
The latest AP-Ipsos poll on Bush, conducted last week, found just 37 percent of the 1,000 people surveyed approving his overall performance, the lowest of his presidency.
Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., tried to hold a vote Monday on Feingold’s resolution but was blocked by Democrats. He said Tuesday that Feingold should withdraw the resolution because it has no support.
"If the Democrats continue to say no to voting on their own censure resolution, then they ought to drop it and focus on our foreign policy in a positive way," Frist said in a statement.
Feingold’s resolution condemns Bush’s "unlawful authorization of wiretaps of Americans within the United States without obtaining the court orders required" by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The only president ever censured by the Senate was Andrew Jackson, in 1834, for removing the nation’s money from a private bank in defiance of the Whig-controlled Senate.