From NBC's Andrea Mitchell
In his speech to AIPAC, Barack Obama laid out a very hard line position that was music to the ears of the pro-Israel lobby -- attempting to counteract McCain's (and Clinton's) suggestions that he would be too willing to negotiate with Iran.
He told the group that he would do "everything" -- "and I mean everything" to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, a threat of military action that matches anything President George W. Bush has ever said.
"We will also use all elements of American power to pressure Iran," Obama said. "I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. That starts with aggressive, principled diplomacy without self-defeating preconditions, but with a clear-eyed understanding of our interests. We have no time to waste. We cannot unconditionally rule out an approach that could prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. We have tried limited, piecemeal talks while we outsource the sustained work to our European allies. It is time for the United States to lead. "
On Iraq, he attacked McCain: "Sen. McCain offers a false choice: stay the course in Iraq, or cede the region to Iran. I reject this logic because there is a better way. Keeping all of our troops tied down indefinitely in Iraq is not the way to weaken Iran. It is precisely what has strengthened it. It is a policy for staying, not a plan for victory. I have proposed a responsible, phased redeployment of our troops from Iraq. We will get out as carefully as we were careless getting in. We will finally pressure Iraq's leaders to take meaningful responsibility for their own future."
He also proposed giving Israel foreign aid without requiring that Egypt get similar aid (a policy that goes all the way back to Camp David.) And he pledged to support keeping Jerusalem as the capital -- and having it remain undivided -- which would pre-empt most diplomatic paths currently on the table.
As he began, Obama confronted head-on the e-mails and rumors that have been bombarding the Jewish-American community about him being somehow suspect or anti-Israel.
"Before I begin, I want to say that I know some provocative e-mails have been circulating throughout Jewish communities across the country," Obama said. "A few of you may have gotten them. They're filled with tall tales and dire warnings about a certain candidate for president. And all I want to say is, let me know if you see this guy named Barack Obama, because he sounds pretty frightening. But if anyone has been confused by these e-mails, I want you to know that today I'll be speaking from my heart, and as a true friend of Israel. "