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Obama At The Hearing

Mike, I didn't see Hillary this morning, but from in the room here, I thought Obama's questioning (save his final statement, which was a little stump-speech-y) was quite successful. It nicely sharpened the question a lot of the other senators had been orbiting around, namely, is there a specific end we can envision now to our work in Iraq?

Instead of throwing up his hands in frustration a la Joe Biden or Barbara Boxer (who was rather funny), Obama tried to give Petraeus and Crocker metrics to riff off of: Let's not pretend we can get nearly everything we want, so what can we be satisfied with? Could we be comfortable -- not overjoyed, but comfortable -- with a certain kind of relationship between Iraq and Iran? Could we feel our work is done if the status quo is sustained with vastly fewer American troops, but no better than the status quo? And so forth. It was a manifestation of the grounded, pragmatic, non-ideological Obama we sometimes read about.

--Eve Fairbanks