Main | Friday, July 04, 2008

Obama In Another Flip-Flop Flap

Barack Obama is defending his Thursday announcement that he may slow his promised withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, saying that he has said all along that he would work with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to effect a withdrawal timetable that would not destabilize Iraq further.

After his first comments on slowing the withdrawal caused a firestorm in the press, Obama hastily called a second news conference later in the day to clarify his remarks.
Mr. Obama said at his first news conference on Thursday that he planned a “thorough assessment” of his Iraq policy when he visited that country this summer. “I’ve always said that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability,” he said. “That assessment has not changed. And when I go to Iraq and have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I’m sure I’ll have more information and will continue to refine my policies.”

Mr. Obama has long spoken of consulting with commanders in the field as part of his plan for a phased withdrawal, but his shift in emphasis in the way he spoke about the situation on Thursday — after weeks in which Republicans and even an outside Iraq policy adviser to his campaign argued against a withdrawal along the lines he had proposed — fueled speculation that he might not be wedded to his timetable.

So the Obama campaign scheduled a second news conference to try to clarify his remarks. “We’re going to try this again,” Mr. Obama said. “Apparently, I wasn’t clear enough this morning on my position with respect to the war in Iraq.”
From the Guardian UK:
Obama's most leftwing supporters have dutifully played the role expected of them, howling betrayal, with the activists of MoveOn leading the lamentation. But even centrist Democrats, who understand the politics of the Potomac shuffle only too well, are troubled. "He's overdoing it," says a longtime party strategist (who, admittedly, did not back Obama in the primaries). "He's reversing too many positions too quickly."
From Liberal Values Blog:
There are at least two key differences between Obama and McCain on the war. Obama realized going to war in Iraq was a mistake from the beginning while McCain was in favor of the war. Obama realizes that our national interests, as well as the interests of those in the region, are best served by a policy aimed at getting out of Iraq while John McCain is willing to remain for one hundred years. The media is resorting to trivialities in making an issue over whether Obama will get out in exactly sixteen months, along with being incorrect if they claim that this represents a change in his position.
This whole thing is a non-story, really, despite the glee with which the McSame camp has jumped upon it. Obama is saying, essentially, what he's always been saying. But even the hardcore Obama supporters are dismayed by this latest opportunity that Obama has given the GOP to cry "flip-flop!" Bad week for Obama. Bad week.

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