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Iraq Troop Withdrawal a Step Closer to California’s February Ballot

An advisory measure to ask voters whether the U.S. should withdraw immediately from Iraq is a step closer to February's ballot. After two hours of impassioned debate the State Assembly approved the legislation Monday. Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez presented the bill to the lower House.

Nunez: I can tell you right now that if the polls are any indication of where the mindset of the American people is, this message will separate California from the rest of the country and hopefully lead other states to follow suit.

The measure evoked strong emotions on both sides of the aisle. Debate went on for close to two hours. Republican Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa says it would send a harmful message to the troops:

LaMalfa: The demoralization for our fighting men and women over there and those that would be stateside still - that's not good. I don't think it's even American.

Opponents also say Democrats are pushing the measure in hopes of a higher voter turnout this February - when there's also a term limits measure on the ballot.   The war measure heads back to the Senate next to consider Assembly amendments. Governor Schwarzenegger would have to sign the bill for it to make it to the ballot.

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