From the Wall Street Journal blog:

Barack Obama's carefully sculpted image as a moderate may be showing some cracks.

It turns out that while in the Illinois legislature, he voted against a bill that would have defined a fully born baby who survived an abortion as a "person." The concept isn't that controversial even among liberal Democrats. Senator Barbara Boxer of California, the Senate's leading pro-choice champion, urged her fellow Democrats to vote for a federal version of the same concept back in 2001, saying such a provision did not impinge on the rights enshrined in the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. The Born Alive Infants bill eventually passed the U.S. Senate by 98 to 0.

But in the Illinois Senate, when Mr. Obama chaired the Health and Human Services Committee, records show a bill consisting of exactly the same language two years later was voted down by six to four. Mr. Obama was one of the legislators opposing it.

Mr. Obama has consistently denied the two bills were identical. During his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, he responded to a question about the Born Alive Infants bill, saying: "At the federal level there was a similar bill that passed because it had an amendment saying this does not encroach on Roe v. Wade. I would have voted for that bill."

But documents recovered from the Illinois Senate archives contradict his statement. "In essence, Obama voted to successfully amend the bill in a way Obama has said would have enabled him to support it, before he voted against it," says columnist Amanda Carpenter of TownHall.com. The National Right to Life Committee's Legislative Counsel Susan Muskett calls the documents a "smoking gun" that finally resolve the Obama abortion vote controversy.

The Obama campaign has strenuously attacked critics who bring up the "Born Alive" bill. Last June 30, Team Obama issued a statement accusing talk show host Bill Bennett of "outright false statements" for contending that Mr. Obama wouldn't support a bill that even leading pro-choice groups declined to oppose. Here's hoping journalists try to pin Mr. Obama down on just why he appears to be to the left of his own party on abortion.

This is an issue I wish Rick Warren could have gone into with Barack Obama in the Saddleback Civil Forum.