I can’t find where I read it now, but one editorialist commented that the earlier date for the change away from a combat role in Afghanistan was a welcome move but that a “more stately roll out of the policy would have been better; a presidential announcement more suitable than a somewhat hapless comment by the Secretary of Defense.”
Except that this has long been the way this administration does things, using the leakiest White House staff in history. By “leaking” policies in advance they can get media and public response before the official "roll out” that the editorialist refers to. If the response is favorable they can then proceed with the policy. If it is unfavorable they can deny that they ever had that policy in mind at all and that the “leaker” was misinformed, merely “misspoke” or that his remarks were taken out of context.
On the Libya issue that was called “leading from behind.” I've commented on Obama’s leadership as “looking for a parade to get in front of.” The “White House leak” or that offhand comment is how the Obama White House forms that parade. When enough people have joined the parade, and it is safe to do so, Obama comes out and gets in the front of the formed up parade. Leadership.