Weekend in Review: Maliki and Obama, Giuliani Returns

In an interview with Der Spiegel, Nouri al-Maliki expressed approval of Barack Obama’s 16-month plan for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

This is "A Big Deal," according to Marc Ambinder, who also quotes a Republican strategist saying, "We’re fucked."

John Riley doesn’t think the McCain campaign’s spin on Maliki is that believable.

According to Joe Klein, this doesn’t mean Obama’s plan is militarily possible, because Maliki wouldn’t know, but the Iraqi prime minister is saying, "Please leave, as soon as possible."

But! Then Maliki issued a statement saying the interview had been badly translated and his comments should not be seen as endorsing either presidential candidate.

Ben Smith is not the only one who thinks that statement–which was distributed by the press office of the U.S.-Led Multinational Force in Iraq–might not express Maliki’s true views. And, then Der Spiegel stuck by the article.

In The New York Times, retired Admiral William J. Fallon pushes for the U.S. and Iraq to enter into a security agreement, writing, "Reasonable objectors to the security pact, in both countries, must jettison the rhetorical and emotional baggage of the recent past."

Obama spent yesterday in Afghanistan, meeting with officials and traveling around.

Here are photos and video from his trip.

Al Gore appeared at the Netroots Nation conference and made an argument for addressing global warming that "seems ready-made for the Obama campaign to download."

Bob Barr dropped in on the Netrooters, too.

Politico names the seven top surrogates.

The Times editorial board thinks Charlie Rangel should have asked for an ethics investigation into his real estate holdings, in addition to the one he did request.

Phil Gramm quit the McCain campaign.

Rudy Giuliani is forming a new P.A.C. to funnel money to New York State Republican candidates–the Post points out this would be one way to start running for governor.

Giuliani’s also getting into the real estate business.

The Daily News looks at proposals to drill for oil off the coast of Long Island and New Jersey.

Liz Benjamin reports on the political upheaval in the Bronx, including the development that Nelson Castro will replace retiring Assemblyman Luis Diaz on the ballot.

A story of corruption in the Bronx Surrogate’s Court shows how that office can be both obscure and powerful.

Real estate developer Peter Fine has donated to four of the five comptroller candidates, plus two mayoral candidates, and undeclared candidate Scott Stringer, and Bronx borough president hopeful Joel Rivera.