Obama is in New Hampshire trying to become our next President. Majority Leader Reid said last night that there would be no vote on this amendment in the near future, so Senator Obama had no reason to expect that this vote would be happening today. The announcement that the amendment would come up for a vote today didn't happen until 12:30pm. What was Senator Obama supposed to do, hop on a private jet and fly straight back to the Capitol? It's not like his vote would've changed the outcome.
Talking Points Memo (Election Central):
The Kyl-Lieberman Iran amendment -- which ratchets up the confrontation with Iran by calling for the designation of its Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization responsible for killing U.S. troops -- just passed overwhelmingly, 76-22.
Of the Dem Presidential candidates, Hillary voted for the measure, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd opposed it, and Barack Obama missed the vote. On the GOP side, John McCain missed the vote.
The bill's backers had tried to mollify its critics by taking out some of its most incendiary language, particularly the idea that "it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies."
Also removed from the measure was a provision "to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments" in support of the above.
One leading critic, Jim Webb, however, still opposed the bill because it designates the Iran guard a terrorist organization. Nonetheless, it was able to pass overwhelmingly.
We'll bring you the exact language of the amendment when it's available.
Late Update: You can read a copy of the actual legislation here in our TPM Document Collection.
Also added to the final version was this conciliatory-sounding language:"Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated on September 16, 2007 that "I think that the administration believes at this point that continuing to try and deal with the Iranian threat, the Iranian challenge, through diplomatic and economic means is by the preferable approach. That the one we are using. We always say all options are on the table, but clearly, the diplomatic and economic approach is the one that we are pursuing."
In the end, though, the amendment says this:"the United States should designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization...and place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists."