Washington — By issuing an early call for a timetable to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, Sen. Russ Feingold could emerge as the Democrats' anti-war candidate of 2008, in the tradition of Eugene McCarthy and Howard Dean.
Although Democrats have been critical of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, they have been reluctant to call for a timetable to leave, fearing it could reinforce stereotypes that their party is weak on national security.
Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat counters that setting an end date in Iraq would free U.S. leaders to focus on terror threats worldwide.
Right now, that sets him apart from other likely Democratic presidential candidates.
As the first senator to call for a withdrawal timetable, Feingold finds himself in familiar terrain. In 2001, he was the only senator to vote against the USA Patriot Act, the post-Sept. 11 law that expanded the government's surveillance and prosecutorial powers.