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FROM THIS EPISODE

The Bush Administration promises no "secret deal" to keep US troops in Iraq, but Senators of both parties say confidential agreements could tie the next president's hands. Is the US trying to establish permanent bases? We'll hear what's being said in Iraq, elsewhere in the Middle East, on Capitol Hill and on the campaign trail. Also, Senate Republicans vote against Democratic energy bill, and after a successful landing on Mars, NASA finds soil sampling is more difficult than expected.


Ambassador David M. Satterfield speaks during a press conference in the 'Green Zone' of Baghdad, Iraq. The Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State and Special Coordinator for Iraq said that a security agreement between the US and Iraqi governments should be complete by the end of July. Photo: Mohammed Jalil-Pool/Getty Images

Producers:
Sonya Geis
Christian Bordal
Dan Konecky

Making News Senate Republicans Vote against Democratic Energy Bill 5 MIN, 58 SEC

With gasoline more than $4 a gallon, Senate Democrats today tried to tax the windfall profits of America's five largest oil companies. Republicans said, "No."  Jodi Schneider is economics editor for Congressional Quarterly.

Guests:
Jodi Schneider, Economics Editor, Congressional Quarterly

Reporter's Notebook Clumpy Soil on Mars, What's a Lander to Do? 8 MIN, 24 SEC

Two weeks ago, the world marveled when the Phoenix survived a 420 million-mile space journey and landed on Mars, right where it was supposed to. Now it's expected to analyze Martian soil to determine whether there might have been life on that planet. The lander has a robotic arm that has scooped up Martian soil for analysis by instruments, including a miniature oven. But the dirt sample has turned out to be clumpier than the oven's filter could handle.  Michael Hecht heads one of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's two soil analysis team.

Guests:
Michael Hecht, Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Main Topic How Long Will the US Stay in Iraq? 34 MIN, 35 SEC

American forces are in Iraq under a United Nations mandate that runs out at the end of this year. Barack Obama wants to withdraw American forces within 16 months after taking office.  John McCain says that would be trading victory for defeat. Now US Senators of both parties claim the Bush Administration is negotiating agreements with Iraqi officials that could tie the next president's hands. While the Bush White House says it's all "technical" and non-binding, it's highly controversial in Iraq. Is the US trying to establish permanent bases without the consent of Congress? What would that mean for Iraqi sovereignty, Iran and US allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia? How would it influence the presidential campaign? 

Guests:
Karen DeYoung, Washington Post (@karendeyoung1)
Ali Allawi, former Iraqi Minister of Trade, Defense and Finance
Steven Cook, Council on Foreign Relations (@stevenacook)
Mark Benjamin, National Correspondent, Salon.com

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