The senator from Illinois rose to prominence largely on one major issue: his opposition to the war in Iraq. He was against it early on, and the committed left loved him for it.
But now U.S. forces in Iraq have achieved stunning victories, and with Iran growing as a danger to the world, many believe it would be foolish to quickly pull American forces out of there. Senator Obama understands that and has recently moderated his view on aggressive troop withdrawal:
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BARACK OBAMA: That strikes me that that's something we can begin relatively soon after inauguration. If, on the other hand, you've got a deteriorating situation for some reason, then that's going to have to be taken into account.
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So Obama is giving himself some wiggle room on Iraq.
As we reported last night, that has angered some on the left who want a complete pullout right now. Also, Senator Obama voted against supporting the surge, which he said would not work. He now admits he was wrong.
With all that in play on Iraq, Senator McCain is chiding Obama:
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JOHN MCCAIN: I hope that he will reach a position. I don't know what position he is because he's been all over the map, calling for immediate withdrawals back during the primaries to now saying it would be — I bet — you know — so it's hard to know. I hope that he will go over there, get the kind of information that he needs which he has not requested in the past.
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So, Iraq is now shaping up as a wild card issue.
"Talking Points" has always maintained that Americans turned against the war because it was chaos and we weren't winning it. Now, we may be winning it.
Will voters change their minds again? It's impossible to know, but the latest polls taken in June show the majority of Americans still oppose the war.
Senator Obama is set to visit Iraq at the end of this month, and that puts him in a difficult position. General Petraeus, who is emerging as a national hero, will likely tell the senator that any U.S. pullout should be OK'd by the military. If Obama disagrees with the general, he will lose the support of some Americans who believe Petraeus knows what he's doing. Any retreat on Iraq by Obama though will anger the far left, which is already going nuts.
Actor Donald Sutherland, for example, is urging folks to contact Obama and demand he adhere to far-left policy. Sutherland and his brigades do not like Obama's move to the center, especially on Iraq, which is an enormous issue for them.
So Senator Obama now finds himself in a very tough spot. But I know one thing: He can't go against General Petraeus and hope to be elected president.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
It is very tough for any child of a political person. Recently, "Access Hollywood" interviewed 10-year-old Malia Obama:
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MALIA OBAMA, BARACK & MICHELLE OBAMA'S DAUGHTER: I read the People magazines and everything and they always have those sections with, you know, how much people's dresses cost, and I saw that magazine and was like, "Oh mommy, you're in this" because I've never seen mommy in that and it was pretty cool. Because I usually see people like Angelina Jolie and real important people, no offense.
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Malia is a patriot for patiently allowing her parents to campaign.
On the pinhead front, one of the big issues at the G8 summit in Japan is world hunger, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had urged moderation in the food area shortly before his trip to Japan.
So what did Brown do upon arriving in Japan? Well he had a six-course lunch and an eight-course dinner featuring 18 different dishes.
One of them should have been a pinhead salad.