Obama could say something like this:
Any “refining” of my Iraq withdrawal plans include a firm timetable for withdrawal satisfactory to the Iraqi government, as part of a larger status of forces agreement. My administration will fully respect the sovereignty of Iraq’s government.
Obama, as a politician, not an idealist, could then privately hold close to his vest any “conditions-based” reservations he has.
And also, he could hold close to the vest his continued vagueness (deliberate,IMO), about just what defines “combat” vs. “noncombat” U.S. troops in Iraq.
Obama has shown he has no problems being that type of politician.
He has, though, shown that he still has trouble actually articulating the nuances of being that type of politician at the presidential level.
Maliki has given Obama a big ladder down into his self-dug hole. But, will he take it? I doubt it.
That’s because, in my opinion, Obama also still has trouble admitting that he still has trouble with those aforementioned nuances.