Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson was in Clearwater this morning, speaking to the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce.... ...Although it was announced that he would be speaking about new anti-tobacco legislation, Nelson instead focused predominantly on the war and occupation in Iraq.

Unlike his fellow Democrats in the Senate, Bob Graham, Nelson voted to give authorization to President Bush to attack Iraq militarily in the fall of 2002.

But today he appeared to sound like he had been duped by the evidence produced regarding former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's weapons capability.

(roll tape#1 o.q."of any weapons")

Speaking to the business oriented Chamber of Commerce congregation, Nelson emphasized that his criticism of how the Pentagon planned - or more accurately - did NOT plan for the occupation after major combat ended - was not partisan in nature

(roll tape#2 o.q." that you are now seeing in Iraq")

Senator Nelson laid out how he sees things improving in Iraq.....He says it requires having the U.S. going to the United Nations , and having an international diplomat take over the situation in Iraq...He says Bush should convene all of the major players -including leaders of all of the Arab nations - they need to forge a consensus

That consensus would invite in NATO, led by the U.S. to stabilize Iraq....Nelson says the U.S. will there for a long duration, and he would increase troop size (roll tape#3 o.q."in governing themselves")

Before Nelson spoke, WMNF caught up with the junior Florida US Senator, and asked him about Iraq, and the John Kerry campaign....We began by asking him where did he stand on any forthcoming distribution of photos and Videotapes of mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by coalition troops (roll tape#4 o.q."who John Kerry is")

That's Florida US Senator Bill Nelson, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee....Tomorrow that Committee will again deal with the alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners......Major General Antonio Taguba, the author of the report that details the charges of torture at Abu Grahib, will be among those testifying.

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