Obama's Task Tougher at Second Summit
By Ben Pershing
Thursday was brought to you by the letter "B," as the budget, Blagojevich and a brief bull market dominated headlines after G-20 summit participants struck a deal to beef up global financial regulations and bolster the coffers of the International Monetary Fund. Next is "N" for NATO, as President Obama is now in Strasbourg aiming to persuade allies to provide more troops and resources in Afghanistan.
After the agreement in London, Obama may just develop a reputation as a dealmaker. Surely if he can get China and France to agree on complex financial regulations, Obama can get Reid and McConnell, et al, together on health care reform, right? But how impressive was the deal itself? The stock markets certainly liked it. Steven Pearlstein called it not quite a "turning point" but "an easy win for all concerned." But the New York Times notes that Obama "did not get much of what American officials had been hoping for," particularly in convincing other countries to boost their stimulus spending.
Obama's task in France and Germany may be tougher. The president is pressing Britain and others to send more troops to Afghanistan just as the political and military situation there gets murkier. Obama wrapped up a press conference with Nicolas Sarkozy moments ago and will soon hold what the French call a "town hall." Then he heads to Germany to meet with Angela Merkel, watch a concert and have a "working dinner."
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