(How has this more stable Iraq come to play in the U.S. presidential election?) It had reduced the visibility of the issue and the disagreement between the candidates. McCain now thinks we could get out perhaps sooner than he thought, so that suggests a convergence of the candidates. There are still some major differences between their beliefs on Iraq though. (Remind us of those key moments when Iraq was front and center and how it has influenced the campaign.) The surge was one real turning point in the presidential campaign. Obama was left to Hillary Clintonï¿½Clinton wanted to be a bit more moderate and a pragmatist and she voted for the war. (Obama declared his candidacy and the same day there were also headlines about the war in Iraq and major deaths there. This was before the surge began though). That's correct, but the strategy was changed during the winter. (Do you believe the American public places as much importance on the Iraq issue as they did during the primaries?) Iraq has diminished in visibility and centrality during this campaign, because Iraq is going better, Afghanistan is going worse, and because the economy has been an issue. I think we have to remember that American voters tend to be interested in national security issues during presidential campaigns. (And people still associate Iraq with our national security?) There's no doubt national security is broader than just Iraq and of course even looking at Iraq, some people will prefer McCain and others Obama. But we can't assume national security issues will be off the table, so Iraq will be important in the presidential election.