Hagel Joins Dems On Iraq Pullout Vote

soldiers train for Iraq at Fort Riley, Kansas
Soldiers from the 1st Infantry listen to an instructor as they train at Fort Riley, Kansas, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007. The soldiers from the division's fourth brigade will deploy to Iraq in the next few weeks as part of President Bush's planned troop surge.
AP Photo/Charlie Reidel

The Skinny is Jennifer Hoar's take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.

Almost exactly a year from today, U.S. troops could be out of Iraq. But if Congress gets it way, there will first no doubt be a knock-down, drag-out, veto threat-filled fight with President Bush.

The Senate squeaker vote on the Iraq troop withdrawal leads all of the papers this Wednesday morning. Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska helped Democrats clinch victory with a 50-48 vote to bring U.S. soldiers home by March 31 of next year. Hagel, who opposed similar withdrawal language in another piece of legislation not too long ago, evidently had a change of heart. As the Washington Post reports, that reversal was nothing short of wholehearted. Approaching the Senate floor but an hour and a half before the vote late Tuesday, the maybe-maybe not presidential contender announced he would "not support sustaining a flawed and failing policy."

Two other GOPers, Sens. Gordon Smith of Oregon and Mary Pryor of Arkansas, also voted to support the withdrawal, tucked into a $122 billion military spending bill, which is certain to inflame President Bush and instigate a showdown with Congress, the New York Times points out.

Snow Falling On Feeders

White House briefing room fixture Tony Snow's cancer has returned, and that is big news to the media mouths he feeds daily. Reporters were told of Snow's relapse Tuesday by White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino, who cried upon sharing the news. The president, meanwhile, told reporters that Snow remains "upbeat" and is going to "whip" the disease anew, USA Today says. The Los Angeles Times interviewed Mary Matalin, former aide to Vice President Cheney, who echoed the positive outlook, saying "he will be better and back pronto."

The papers unanimously addressed the connection between Snow's news and that of Elizabeth Edwards, who announced last week that she, too, is fighting a recurrence of the disease.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, emphasized that Snow's absence comes at an inconvenient time for the Bush Administration while the New York Times evaluated Perino's performance as the new face at the White House lectern.

Don't Ask Why, Get Your MRI

Cancer vigilance is de rigeur with new reports out today on the importance of MRI's for women with breast cancer or at high risk for it, the New York Times and Washington Post report on their front pages.

For the first time, women who are predisposed to or have already battled breast cancer are being urged to have MRI's annually. As part of the medical arsenal to detect cancer in its early stages, the MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, can detect tiny tumors that mammograms may miss, the Post explains.

Gimme A Break (Along With Some Free Stuff)

For the latest in levity, Washington Post deconstructs promotional freebies for Spring Breakers and the Wall Street Journal looks at how a French mogul, who happens to be actress Salma Hayek's fiance, is tussling with the Guggenheim Foundation over a Venetian art space.

In case you need a PETA-friendly image to start your day (or would like to begin thinking about lunch), the New York Times says Burger King has decided that it will only buy eggs and pork from suppliers that do not keep their creatures caged.

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