According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.
"He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview.
Obama insisted that Congress should be involved in negotiations on the status of US troops - and that it was in the interests of both sides not to have an agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in its "state of weakness and political confusion."
It's disturbing (and as far as I know, unprecedented) for a candidate to be out making foreign policy as self-assumed president-in-waiting. He's actively undermining the legitimacy of a sitting president, with a key foreign government, no less. Obama has apparently decided it's not enough to already act like president, he needs to prevent anything out of his power from happening in the meantime.
Now, this story been sitting quietly in an open browser window for a few days because I didn't want to blog on it until we got some verification. That came today with the Obama campaign's masterful non-denial:
But Obama's national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said Taheri's article bore "as much resemblance to the truth as a McCain campaign commercial." In fact, Obama had told the Iraqis that they should not rush through a "Strategic Framework Agreement" governing the future of US forces until after President George W. Bush leaves office, she said.
Which is completely different from "[asking] why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington". That's quite a denial: "It's all dirty lies. Our candidate most certainly did not do x. Rather, he did x." Huh? The only difference is in the wording, which sounds even worse in Morigi's account. At least Zebari had Obama making a suggestion; Morigi says he simply told them what to do.