This is an interesting milestone: a key backer of Governor Bill Richardson in an early primary state has flipped to the Biden camp -- because he can't abide Richardson's proposal to quit Iraq:
Gov. Bill Richardson's proposal for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq has won him accolades from the anti-war left and in the blogosphere, but it lost him a key supporter in primary state South Carolina today. State Rep. Fletcher Smith of Greenville County, formerly a co-chair for Richardson's South Carolina campaign, announced this morning that he is endorsing Sen. Joe Biden instead.
Smith told NBC News/National Journal that he became concerned about his support of Richardson after hearing the governor advocate for a six-month timeline to for withdrawal from Iraq.
"Those of us who have had some idea about military evacuations understand that you cannot redeploy troops, or take troops out, or evacuate them within a six-month period of time," he said, adding that Richardson's plan could bring about the same morale-damaging image evoked when Americans were airlifted from Saigon in 1975. "We do not need a Vietnam-style evacuation.”
Richardson's support for quick withdrawal is not new; he's been pushing it for months. It IS new that key Democrats are forcefully rejecting that idea, in favor of a long-term commitment. Of course, South Carolina is a conservative state, but it's a sign that the center of gravity on Iraq in the Democratic party is moving to the right.