The big campaign news over the weekend was Spiegel’s interview with Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki in which he endorsed Barack Obama’s timeline for the withdrawal of US troops.

Iraq PM endorses Obama’s withdrawal plan – The big campaign news over the weekend was Spiegel’s interview with Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki in which he endorsed Barack Obama’s 16-month timeline for withdrawal of US troops.

The Washington Monthly says “The Bush administration was so unnerved by this that they mistakenly sent an email to the entire White House press corps headlined “Iraqi PM backs Obama troop exit plan.” Oops. Then they followed this up by leaning on Maliki to retract, an effort made clumsily transparent by releasing the Iraqi statement via the U.S. military’s Central Command press office.”

A piece in Commentary describes the interview as Maliki’s “gift” to Obama but warns:

“The better part of McCain’s reluctance to talk about timetables was founded in the fear that we’d be giving the enemy a heads-up as to when their job would get easier. Doubtless American commanders were mindful of the same. Maliki’s suddenly loosened tongue might prove to be a very dangerous betrayal of this elementary precaution. In other words, even if Maliki’s time frame is doable (and about that there’s massive debate), its advance broadcast is just stupid.”

Barack Obama’s world tour – The details of Barack Obama’s forthcoming world tour remain vague but he’s confirmed he’ll be visiting Jordan, Israel and the West Bank, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, France and the UK in a tour which New York magazine said has the potential to turn into a blessing or a curse. The piece entitled “Obama, Rock Star, to embark on risky overseas tour” – rounds up the mixed coverage the tour is garnering from a variety of media outlets.

The Times ran a piece on the eve of Obama’s European tour saying he fears “the Blair effect – hero abroad, liability at home”. The trip is much more about shoring up votes at home:

“Lest there be any illusions about the desired target audience for Obama’s trip, the foreign media, including the BBC, have been left on the Tarmac. Only American reporters are on board “Obama One” as his plane heads from one country to the next.”

Corporate sponsorship of the DNC – Salon has a snarky op ed piece looking at the creep of corporate sponsorship into the Democratic National Convention. Attendees will receive a goodie bag with conspicuous AT&T branding on it. “What’s most striking about the Convention bag… is how the parties no longer bother even trying to hide who it is who funds and sponsors them. But — an earnest citizen might object — just because AT&T is helping to pay for the Democrats’ convention and having its logo plastered all over it the way a ranch owner brands his cattle doesn’t mean that they will receive any special consideration when it comes time for Congress to debate and pass our nation’s laws.” — Salon

The making of Obama – New Yorker has a feature looking at the making of Barack Obama, politician and what his time in Chicago says about him. Chicago was the scene of Obama’s first political campaign – for the US Senate. Toni Preckwinkle, a longtime local councillor who campaigned for Obama says she’s become disenchanted. ““Can you get where he is and maintain your personal integrity?” she said. “Is that the question?” She stared at me and grimaced. “I’m going to pass on that.””  — New Yorker

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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