Has Obama Put Himself to Right of Hillary on Surge?

Opening for Hillary? Obama has spoken some sense on the surge . . .

Whereas Obama's claim to foreign policy fame among Dems has been his opposition from day one to the Iraq war, it appears he may have now put himself to the right of Hillary Clinton on the issue of sustaining the surge.

Readers will recall that when Tim Russert asked Clinton on Meet the Press of January 13th whether she would be open to sustaining the surge through the end of the year if General Petraeus requested it, Hillary tersely answered "No, and here's why, Tim."

But confronted with a similar hypothetical on this morning's Early Show, Obama evinced more flexibility.

View video here.

HARRY SMITH: Over the last 48 hours or so, we were reminded of how serious the situation is in Iraq.

BARACK OBAMA: Absolutely.

SMITH: Commanders there saying maybe we ought to freeze this troop drawdown, because we're not sure how this is going to work. Suicide bombers come, killed dozens and dozens of people.

OBAMA: Heartbreak.

SMITH: If you were to be elected president, and your commanders on the ground there, and your Secretary of Defense said "hold back. You can't be pulling these people out. We're going to be creating a civil war and a bloodbath." What would you do?

OBAMA: My job as Commander-in-Chief is to keep the American people safe. But I firmly believe that we have to send a signal to the Iraqis that it is time to withdraw. We will not have a permanent base there, we will not have a permanent occupation there.

SMITH: Even if it meant the beginning of civil --

OBAMA: No, no, no, no. Within those constraints, I think there is going to be some flexibility, and obviously I would consult with commanders. We have to be mindful of the situation on the ground and what the commanders say.
Will we see Hillary attempting to exploit this outbreak of common sense from Obama?
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.