Well surprise, surprise, and if this don’t beat all! This news story sure sounds a lot like a set up for a future statement from Obama that might go something like “..after reconsidering the information on the ground from our commanders…” brace yourself “… we must ensure that the fragile peace is preserved, and I have determined after careful consideration that premature withdrawal of American troops would in fact be counter productive.” You can take that to the bank as Obama begins his flip toward the middle ground and the moderate voters he has been courting of late (including evangelicals).

It wasn’t that long ago that Obama, and the henchmen of Moveon.Org, and other far left anti-war factions were out to crucify General Petraus and his assessment of the “surge” working. Interesting how CHANGE AGENT OBAMA is about to CHANGE his position on troop withdrawal since he has locked up the nomination. One has to wonder if Hillary has enough energy and guts to rally the left and perhaps pull a last minute upset at the convention if this story is going where we think its going. An upset driven by a strong voice from the left might make for some interesting photo-ops in Denver!

Senator Barack Obama said Thursday that he might “refine” his plans for a phased withdrawal from Iraq after meeting with military commanders there later this summer. But later, he hastily held a second news conference: to emphasize his commitment to withdrawing all combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office.
His two statements, made just hours apart in Fargo, N.D., reflected how the changing dynamics on the ground in Iraq have posed a challenge to Mr. Obama, as he tried to retain flexibility as violence declines there without abandoning one of the central promises of his campaign: that if elected he would end the war there.

His remarks came as Republicans — including his all-but-certain Republican rival, Senator John McCain — have been arguing that Mr. Obama would likely change his position on the phased withdrawal. They argue that with violence dropping there, bringing the troops home would risk erasing the fragile gains that have been made.

Mr. Obama said at his first news conference that he planned a “thorough assessment” of his Iraq policy when he visits the country later 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 from Iraq, 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 the Obama campaign argued against a withdrawal along the lines he had proposed — fueled speculation that he might not be wedded to his timetable. NYT

And then there is this…

We’re beginning to understand why Barack Obama keeps protesting so vigorously against the prospect of “George Bush’s third term.” Maybe he’s worried that someone will notice that he’s the candidate who’s running for it.

Most Presidential candidates adapt their message after they win their party nomination, but Mr. Obama isn’t merely “running to the center.” He’s fleeing from many of his primary positions so markedly and so rapidly that he’s embracing a sizable chunk of President Bush’s policy. Who would have thought that a Democrat would rehabilitate the much-maligned Bush agenda?

Take the surveillance of foreign terrorists. Last October, while running with the Democratic pack, the Illinois Senator vowed to “support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies” that assisted in such eavesdropping after 9/11. As recently as February, still running as the liberal favorite against Hillary Clinton, he was one of 29 Democrats who voted against allowing a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee reform of surveillance rules even to come to the floor.

Two weeks ago, however, the House passed a bill that is essentially the same as that Senate version, and Mr. Obama now says he supports it. Apparently legal immunity for the telcos is vital for U.S. national security, just as Mr. Bush has claimed. Apparently, too, the legislation isn’t an attempt by Dick Cheney to gut the Constitution. Perhaps it is dawning on Mr. Obama that, if he does become President, he’ll be responsible for preventing any new terrorist attack. So now he’s happy to throw the New York Times under the bus. — WSJ