John McCain's Lone Battle on Kosovo

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WASHINGTON: In Congress, it's lonely out front. Faced with John McCain's resolution to give President Clinton "all necessary force" to win the war in Kosovo, the Senate on Tuesday morning took a look around, counted heads -- and chickened out. "This is the wrong language and it's at the wrong time," Majority Leader Trent Lott said before the Senate voted 78-22 to set aside McCain's motion for another day. "The Senate isn't ready to take a stand yet," says TIME congressional correspondent Jay Carney. "Half of them like McCain's resolution, and the other half want to keep some control for themselves and make Clinton come to them if he wants ground troops. The split crosses party lines. The leadership would rather not have to choose."

Which was fine with the White House, insistent Tuesday, as ever, that the air-only campaign is working fine and that it doesn't need a broader arsenal. Eager to see Senate debate on Kosovo pinched off before it got too divisive, Clinton had Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Defense Secretary William Cohen and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle all working for its defeat. But presidential hopeful McCain still got a few shots in. "The President of the United States is prepared to lose a war rather than do the hard work, the politically risky work, of fighting it as the leader of the greatest nation on earth should fight," McCain said. "I wanted this resolution considered in now-forlorn hope that the President would take courage from it, find the resolve to do his duty."

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