A vote in the US House of Representatives to label the century-ago deaths of Armenians as genocide was in jeopardy Tuesday after at least a half-dozen Democrats withdrew their support and several others implored Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold off to avoid damaging relations with Turkey.
The reaction from within their party appears to be a major setback to Pelosi and other Democratic leaders. They have fiercely defended the resolution to Republicans and the White House as a moral imperative to condemn the World War I-era killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks.
President George W. Bush called Pelosi on Tuesday to ask her not to call for a House vote on the resolution.
"The president and the speaker exchanged candid views on the subject and the speaker explained the strong bipartisan support in the House for the resolution," Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said.