Positioning for Re-Election, Many Dems Have Begun Criticizing Obama's Afghan Escalation

Among those speaking out is Mike Capuano, a Massachusetts congressman.

Even before President Obama formally announces his plan to surge more than 30,000 additional U.S. troops into Afghanistan, Democrats who want to win elections are campaigning against it.

The next big election for Democrats is the Massachusetts primary organized to fill the U.S. Senate seat of the late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy.

The leading candidates in next Tuesday's primary are scrambling to appeal to the party's base voters in a state that gave overwhelming support to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

But the candidates are not presenting themselves as enthusiastic backers of the president's military adventuring abroad.

In fact, they are doing the opposite.

Congressman Mike Capuano, who has attracted the support of anti-war activists in groups such as Progressive Democrats of America, is up on television with a commercial that trumpets his anti-war stance.

In it, the congressman recalls his vote against authorizing the war in Iraq and then says: "Now there's a call for more troops in Afghanistan, but the questions remain: What's our mission? How do we define success? And what's our exit strategy? Without the right answers to those questions, I will never vote to send more of our sons and daughters to war. Never!"

John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent.
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