U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama is distancing himself from expectations he would meet Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and taking a more cautious stand on talking to other U.S. adversaries.
With criticism from Republicans turning harsher as Obama moves closer to winning the Democratic nomination battle against rival Hillary Clinton, the Illinois senator has shifted -- but not abandoned -- his position.
Sen. John McCain, the Republicans' presumptive nominee for the November election, has expressed outrage that Obama would talk to Ahmadinejad, whose country does not recognize Israel and who has branded the Jewish state a "stinking corpse."
"There's definitely been an adjustment in what was initially a pretty categorical position," said Ross Baker, a political scientist a Rutgers University. "As (Obama) has gone around the country campaigning, he has realized he's had to fine-tune his position."