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Schwarzenegger vetoes California bill on Iraq war 07:48, September 13, 2007

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Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a landmark bill that would have made California the fist state in the U.S. to vote on whether the government should withdraw troops from Iraq immediately.

The Republican governor apparently thought the Iraq war is a federal one and urged voters in his state to weigh in by casting ballots for president in the February primary election.

Schwarzenegger vetoed on Tuesday night the bill, which would have asked voters on the primary ballot whether President George Bush should end the occupation of Iraq and immediately begin the withdrawal of U.S forces.

The anti-war bill, proposed by state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, had sparked lengthy debate in the state legislature and passed last month without any Republican votes.

In a veto message, Schwarzenegger called the Iraq war issue divisive and difficult, saying that "placing a non-binding resolution on Iraq on the same ballot ... would only further divide voters and shift attention from other critical issues that must be addressed."

"There is no louder message Californians can send to Washington on the Iraq war than who should lead our nation," he wrote.

Perata, a Democrat, said he was disappointed that Schwarzenegger would not allow voters to express their opinion on "the biggest issue of this time."

The bill, which calls for an "immediate" troop pullout from Iraq, conflicts with Schwarzegger's known position on the Iraq war. The governor has advocated a "timetable" for troops withdrawal.

A recent survey by California's independent Field Poll service found that 58 percent of voters in the state favor setting a spring 2008 deadline to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq.

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