Democratic presidential hopeful Barak Obama on Wednesday stressed the need for the U.S. and Pakistan to be “constructive” allies in fighting al-Qaida, but softened earlier talk in which he pledged to unilaterally hunt down terrorists in the south Asian nation.

Obama and his spokesman offered measured criticism of the Bush administration’s actions and policies on Pakistan. The candidate declined an opportunity to explain the difference between his proposals and the White House’s, but he expressed sympathy for Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who faces a growing militant backlash in his Muslim nation.

“President Musharraf has very difficult job, and it is important that we are a constructive ally with them in dealing with al-Qaida,” Obama, a U.S. senator from Illinois, said. ~AP

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