Joel and Andy have already covered the details on why Obama’s claim that it wasn’t his decision to pull troops from Iraq. But there’s a more basic political point to be made. For years, Obama has been bragging about bringing the troops home. Even now the political coverage routinely mentions how Obama saw this as a political asset, a kept promise etc. Has anyone ever seen video of the president at a fundraiser or a college campus or at commencement ceremony expressing the slightest regret that we couldn’t keep some troops there? Of course not. He clearly wanted to take all of the credit for it and spin it as a heroic effort. It’s only now that the downside critics warned about for years is materializing that he suddenly feels the need to explain the invisible asterisk he put on all of his statements. It reminds me of the years he spent going around telling everyone they can keep their health plan if they want. When that was exposed as a lie, he suddenly had these complex explanations for why it wasn’t.