Democrat Barack Obama said on Tuesday there was "no doubt" the top US commander in Iraq opposes setting a deadline for withdrawing American combat forces but said the situation there is improving and that the United States urgently needs to turn its attention to Afghanistan.
Noting that the job of US president and that of Gen. David Petraeus were different, Obama said he was setting "a strategic vision of what's best for US national security" that he believes must include a mid-2010 target for removing American combat forces.
"There's no doubt Gen. Petraeus does not want a timetable. ... In his role he wants maximum flexibility to get done" what he thinks is necessary to the military mission.
Obama acknowledged that security in Iraq had improved, but said "now we need a political solution."