"Obama fuels debate on Iraq pullout with his remarks" from the New York Times reports on Senator Barack Obama's efforts to "refine" his approach concerning Iraq - given that there have been positive reports from such unlikely sources as the New York Times, BBC, Der Spiegel, etc. - that fly in the face of his continued negative stance - and that too quick a withdrawal could potentially have catastrophic results for the Iraqis and troops left.
This is causing consternation among his left-wing supporters as change in Iraq has been the cornerstone of his candidacy after making a speech in 2002 and using this as a clarion call for his candidacy even as he hasn't done much in the Senate since on the matter except talk about it.
His two statements in Fargo, N.D., reflected how the changing dynamics in Iraq have posed a challenge for Mr. Obama, who is trying to retain flexibility as violence declines there without abandoning a central promise of his campaign: that if elected, he would end the war.
His remarks came as Republicans — including his all-but-certain opponent this fall, Senator John McCain of Arizona — have been arguing that Mr. Obama would most likely change his position on the phased withdrawal. They suggest that with violence dropping in Iraq, bringing the troops home would risk erasing the fragile gains that have been made.