By Susan Milligan, Globe Staff
WASHINGTON -- The intersection of presidential politics, economic doldrums, and Iraq policy just produced this scene at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Senator George Voinovich, an Ohio Republican, broke with the party line, declaring, "We've kind of bankrupted this country" with the war spending. "We're in a recession," he added, "and God knows how long it's going to last."
Then he asked General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker whether the Iraqi government understood that the US would eventually withdraw.
"We have someone sitting across here, maybe the next president of the United States," Voinovich said, drawing a cheer from the back of the room.
Committee Chairman Joe Biden, a Delaware Democrat who ran for the nomination himself, asked Voinovich not to "reference the senator from Illinois" -- Democratic front-runner Barack Obama -- especially since Biden had ordered a few unruly demonstrators ejected from the hearing room.
"I can just see the headline in the Washington Post: Biden throws out people who cheer Democratic candidate," Biden said, drawing a chuckle from Obama.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.