Republicans come up short in pipeline vote
Give them an "A" for effort. The GOP tried to force the senate to approve construction of the Keystone pipleline over the president's objections and came up a little short.
The 56-42 vote staves off an election-year rebuke of Obama, but will give political ammunition to backers of TransCanada Corp.'s plan to build a pipeline connecting Alberta's massive tar sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries.
Despite Obama's efforts, 11 Democrats brushed off Obama on the vote and sided with Republicans.
The 11 Democratic defections were Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Bob Casey (Pa.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Jim Webb (Va.).
No Republicans voted against the measure, and 60 votes were needed to move forward.
With gas prices rising, the issue has become an election-year political weapon for Republicans, who say Obama is passing up a chance to boost U.S. energy security and create jobs. Several of the Democrats who voted in favor of Keystone face reelection contests this year, including Casey, Manchin, McCaskill and Tester.
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), the measure's chief sponsor, told reporters after the vote that he'll continue seeking ways to advance Keystone.
"All along we've said the highway bill was just one option. This is a project that got majority support in the Senate. We are making progress," Hoeven said.
Most of those Dems voting with Republicans are up for re-election this year. And when gas skyrockets this summer and people start looking for someone to blame, Obama is going to be in the cross hairs.