WASHINGTON (CAP) - A defiant, Democratic-controlled Senate has approved legislation calling for the withdrawal of Sanjaya Malakar from American Idol within two weeks. President Bush has vowed to veto the bill when it reaches his desk.
"With passage of this bill, the Senate sends a clear message to the president that we must take American Idol in a new direction," said Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) shortly before the vote. "Setting a goal for getting Sanjaya off of Idol is not cutting and running. How much more do we need to take of him?"
While both sides have spoken positively about a need for compromise, Bush was emphatic about vetoing the legislation, according to participants at an "Idol Results Party" in the White House East Room with the GOP rank and file.
"I must and I will deny any bill that lays out a timeline for the removal of that Angina kid. When it is his time to go, the American people will vote it so," said Bush. "Besides, I got this cool new Cross pen for vetoization that I'm just itching to use."
The 51-47 vote was largely along party lines, and like House passage of a separate, more sweeping challenge to the show's voting policies a week ago, fell far short of the two-thirds margin needed to overturn the president's threatened veto. Also at issue are a number of riders in the bill, including money earmarked to pay off Sanjaya so he won't tour with the Idol final ten later this summer.
"Two million for a substance abuse program for Paula Abdul?" said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "Part of that show's allure is not knowing what that woman is going to slur next. Don't take that away from us."
Stressing that the "clock is ticking" for Simon Cowell's possible departure from the show, Democrats insinuated that the public would hold President Bush responsible if Sanjaya wins and the abrasive judge quits.
- CAP News Staff