Student or Learner
I read those two sentence in VOA News "Obama Facing New Pressure From Left on Afganistan"
1, Obama administration officials, from the president on down, condemned the leaks( secret military documents) as reckless and dangerous.
2, You've got congressional elections coming up in a few months, another presidential election coming up in 2012. Obama's got a problem with the Democrats. He's got a different kind of problem the Republicans, and I think there is every reason to think that Obama would like for the build-down to be meaningful.
How to understand the underlined parts? Thanks.
Not a teacher only a native speaker.
1) I would take this to mean everyone in Obama's administration, from Obama to the lowliest official, condemns the leak.
The use of the word 'on' maybe unnecessary.
2) Having found the article, and skim read it, 'build-down' refers to the topic addressed in the previous paragraph (the withdrawl of US troops from Afghanistan). 'Build-down' refers to the removal of troops, as opposed to a 'build-up', which would be the addition of troops. According to the report, Obama wants to start withdrawing US troops next July depending on circumstances, he would like this to be in a way that appeals to voters as the war is increasingly unpopular with the public (according to the report).
I hope this helps, if you need further clarification please let me know.