Mondo Washington

But Daschle won definitive and important backing from within the Bush camp in the form of Chuck Hagel, the Republican Nebraska senator who was a supporter of George Bush on Capitol Hill when no one else would take him seriously. "I think Senator Daschle may have used a bit of a blunt object in some of his language, but the foundational part of his question was appropriate, and I don't think there's any question that Senator Daschle supports the president," Hagel said. "I think it is an issue where both Democrats and Republicans support this president in our efforts, but at the same time, we need to ask questions and bring some perspective and balance to it all."

Among the mavericks on the Democratic backbench, talk against the war is just getting started. Jesse Jackson Jr., a rising star, said he has not opposed the war and has "mostly reservations, but some opposition." Jackson, for example, supports monitoring and containing Saddam Hussein, not overthrowing him: "I don't believe that the U.S. threat to overthrow a country's leader will be tolerated by civilized people." And he came down hard against the shadow government, saying, "There is no such thing in the Constitution. There are three branches of government. If the administration is concerned with contingencies, they must be democratically planned. If they want to change the structure, it is a constitutional issue. Then the government must have a 28th amendment."

Additional reporting by Gabrielle Jackson, Meritxell Mir and Michael Ridley.
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