A constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration died in the Senate Tuesday, but Republicans were hopeful that they had emerged with an issue to wave in election campaigns this year.
On a 58-42 roll call, a measure promoted by President Bush and Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) fell nine votes short of gaining the required two-thirds majority. A narrower version offered by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) fared much worse, losing 93 to 7.
The House had rejected the Bush-backed amendment last week but the Senate plunged ahead with its scheduled debate this week, largely in response to demands from Republican leaders.