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Republican Revolt: Some Discuss Defying President

ABC staffwriters

After a week-long recess, Congressional members will head back to Capitol Hill this week. And some top Republicans openly are discussing defying President George Bush and supporting a bill to bring home overseas troops.

Six Republican Senators have signed a bill that calls for implementing the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, including setting conditions for a possible redeployment of U.S. troops next spring.

A growing sense that the president's surge strategy isn't working may be driving the shift.

"The overall level of attacks have gone up," said Tony Cordesman, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and an ABC News national security consultant. "The overall levels of Iraqi casualties have gone up, and so have American casualties."

For Republicans on the ballot in 2008, the war has become a serious liability.

"If the campaign were to take place in the current context, the Democrats would have a huge advantage, and this'd have to be on the minds of many Republicans," said Brookings Institution senior fellow Michael O'Hanlon.

"This Week" host George Stephanopoulos said on "Good Morning America Weekend Edition" that the handwriting is on the wall for President Bush. The only questions are how dramatic the change will be and when it will happen, he said.

"This is very, very difficult for President Bush just to manage it, because he's facing such a revolt," Stephanopoulos said.

Stephanopoulos added that the president is trying to calm things by telling people not to expect miracles or overnight changes.

The White House is urging Republicans to withhold judgment until September, when military commanders issue a progress report.

Most of the Republican war critics said they will not support a firm deadline for bringing the troops home.

"Most of them have gone out of their way to say they will not vote with the Democrats to mandate an end to the war," O'Hanlon said. "And if you were in the White House, you would see that as a major silver lining."

As long as Republican critics refuse to align with Democratic efforts to cut off funding or set a specific withdrawal date, then the president's policy may be safe for the time being.

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