Story from the Advocate.
If he wanted, the Barack Obama of today could have a pretty good debate with the Barack Obama of yesterday.
They could argue about whether the death penalty is ever appropriate. Whether it makes sense to ban handguns. They might explore their differences on the Patriot Act or parental notification of abortion.
And they could debate whether Obama has flip-flopped, changed some of his views as he learned more over the years, or is simply answering questions with more detail and nuance now that he is running for president.
The Democratic senator from Illinois hasn't made any fundamental policy shifts, such as changing his view on whether abortion should be legal. But his decade in public office and an Associated Press review of his answers to a questionnaire show positions changing in smaller ways.
Taken together, the shifts could suggest a liberal, inexperienced lawmaker gradually adjusting to the realities of what could be accomplished, first in the Illinois legislature and then the U.S. Senate.
On the other hand, political rivals could accuse him of abandoning potentially unpopular views or of trying to disguise his real positions. . . .