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Barack Obama's decision to forgo a visit with wounded US troops in Germany during the European leg of his recent international sojourn gave John McCain's camp the idea for a new advertisement criticizing the Illinois senator, although Obama's team and Republican Sen Chuck Hagel beg to differ with its premise.

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The U.S. Embassy has reported that Barack Obama arrived safely in Iraq, where he is expected to meet with Gen. David Petraeus and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The candidate is traveling with fellow Iraq war critics Sen. Jack Reed and Sen. Chuck Hagel.

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Senate Republicans have successfully blocked a three-month expansion of troop leave, which the Democrats hoped would provide pressure to withdraw without cutting off funds. John McCain called the effort to give our fighting men and women 15 months off between combat deployments "dangerous."

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Retiring Sen. Chuck Hagel tells Bill Maher why the president's exploitation of Gen. Petraeus is "not only a dirty trick, but it's dishonest, it's hypocritical, it's dangerous and irresponsible. The fact is, this is not Petraeus' policy, it's Bush's policy."

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As Virginia goes, so goes the Senate -- and the nation? The decision of former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner to run for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. John Warner is more than just bad news for the GOP.

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So much for "supporting our troops": A bipartisan proposal sponsored by two combat veterans to give exhausted U.S. troops more time between their military deployments overseas was defeated by Republicans in the Senate, the first vote of a two-week congressional debate on Iraq.

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The Senate Intelligence Committee has declassified and released two prewar intelligence reports that warned a postwar Iraq could struggle with sectarian violence and might benefit al-Qaida and Iran. Democrats on the panel, along with Republicans Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe, criticized the Bush administration for ignoring the prescient warnings.

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Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel told "Face the Nation" on Sunday that he was "not happy with the Republican Party," and hinted he might make an independent run for president, perhaps with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg by his side.

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Three prominent Republican senators expressed their lack of confidence in Alberto Gonzales on Sunday. GOP support has dropped off since Justice Department documents released on Friday caught the attorney general misrepresenting when he first knew about a plan to fire eight U.S. attorneys.

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