Just hours ago, the Senate voted on the Kerry-Feingold proposal to redeploy American combat troops out of Iraq by July 1, 2007. Thirteen Senators voted for it.
It was an important step towards ending the administration's aimless, open-ended course in Iraq and having Iraqis stand up for Iraq.
When Jack Murtha stepped up to the challenge of leadership in the House on Iraq, he was alone. Last week, 140 House members voted to support his leadership.
When we in the Senate began the fight to change course in Iraq, we too were almost alone. Today our numbers grew -- and that is progress you made happen.
First and foremost, Russ and I thank you for your support. Over the last few weeks, hundreds of thousands of you have joined our effort to bring our combat troops home. Once again, the johnkerry.com community has shown its deep commitment to fighting for a better course for America.
We ask you to join us now in honoring the strength and leadership of the Senators who stood with you:
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), co-sponsor
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Sen. James Jeffords (I-VT)
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), co-sponsor
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Please call, write, or email these Senators and acknowledge their leadership on Iraq.
Let me be absolutely clear. Russ Feingold and I would have forced this vote even if the outcome were going to be 98 to 2. Ending the Bush administration's disastrous approach to this war isn't about counting votes. It isn't about legislative strategy or electoral calculation. It's about applying constant pressure to change a broken course.
It's about utterly rejecting the desperate tactics of cowardly political operatives like Karl Rove who, as John Murtha pointed out, have no qualms about telling our soldiers to "stay the course" from the comfort of their air-conditioned offices at the White House.
It's about doing what's right.
Karl Rove may worry about losing votes. It's our job to worry about young Americans losing their lives. It's our job to provide a new vision that offers real security for America while giving the Iraqis their best chance for a stable Iraq.
I will keep doing what's right on Iraq, and I won't stop until our troops are home and the future of Iraq is in the hands of the Iraqi people.
I know you'll keep working right alongside me.