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Flap over Jane Fonda heats up Senate

ATLANTA - Movie star Jane Fonda's role in opposing the Vietnam War was the unlikely source of a heated debate that roiled the Senate Thursday for the second day in a row.

The sponsor of a Senate resolution honoring Fonda, who now lives in Atlanta, for her advocacy work combatting teen pregnancy tried to withdraw the measure a day after a senator who is a military veteran objected to it.

Fonda has been scorned for decades as "Hanoi Jane'' by veterans groups who were incensed when she traveled to North Vietnam during the war, posed for photos with enemy weaponry, and criticized U.S. military policy.

Sen. John Douglas, R-Covington, compared Fonda to two infamous traitors from America's wars.

"I can think of no living American who is less worthy of this honor than Jane Fonda,'' said Douglas, who served in the Army for 17 years and now works as field representative for the Peace Officers Association of Georgia.

"She is as guilty of treason as Benedict Arnold and Tokyo Rose.''

Resolutions honoring Georgians for various accomplishments are introduced routinely into the House and Senate. Usually, they draw little attention from lawmakers and are approved unanimously without a formal vote.

But Douglas objected on Wednesday when he heard the resolution honoring Fonda. By that time, however, it already had been adopted.

So Douglas moved to reconsider that vote when the Senate reconvened on Thursday.

First, however, Sen. Steen Miles, D-Decatur, who had introduced the resolution, offered to withdraw it. She said Fonda, who is out of the country, asked her to withdraw the measure in the wake of the controversy.

"I am deeply sorry that a routine resolution honoring Jane Fonda for working tirelessly to prevent teen pregnancy would cause such a horrific firestorm,'' Miles said Thursday. "We should strive to move beyond the yesterdays of 30 and 40 years ago.''

But Republican senators wouldn't let Miles off the hook so easily.

The Senate voted along party lines 28-15 to deny her permission to withdraw the resolution.

Then, senators resoundingly defeated the resolution, 28-1, with Miles and seven other Democrats joining Republicans in voting it down.