8 a.m. ET: Having already laid out a historically large first-year agenda that calls for remaking both the nation's health care and energy infrastructures in a matter of months, President Obama just returned from a foreign trip on which he pledged play a more active personal role in addressing global problem areas like North Korea, Iran and, especially, Middle East peace. Now, two questions: How many hours are there in Obama's day? And can he possibly deliver on all his promises at home and abroad?
Mike Allen writes in Politico that "Obama is moving into a new season of his presidency where it’s clear that his celebrity is going to be durable, and now he wants to start leveraging it to add clear accomplishments on a long list of issues that have flummoxed his predecessors." The result of Obama's ambitious rhetoric, the Wall Street Journal notes, is that he will now face pressure "to carry through, not only on peace initiatives but also on the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq, the closure of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the enforcement of a ban on torture."
Obama's trip has concluded, but the criticism hasn't. Mark Steyn laments in National Review that Obama "used the cover of multilateralism and moral equivalence to communicate, consistently, American weakness." And while conservatives have derided Obama's supposed "apology tour," Matthew Yglesias complains from the Left that the problem with Obama's trip is that he actually didn't make any apologies. Yglesias says "the real problem with Obama's [Cairo] speech was that, in critical respects, it was shockingly banal, and missed the opportunity to genuinely reconfigure America's approach to the region."
Chuck Grassley also got in on the act, complaining on his Twitter feed: "Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said 'time to delivr on healthcare' When you are a "hammer" u think evrything is NAIL I'm no NAIL." Yes, even a 75-year-old Senator can write incomprehensible Twitter posts.
Just as is playing a more personal role on foreign policy, Obama "has concluded that he must exert greater control over the health care debate" at home, the New York Times says. As Ceci Connolly writes, "The pace of negotiations over health reform is likely to quicken this week" as multiple congressional committees inch closer to completing drafts of a massive bill. Much depends on the ailing Edward Kennedy, whose committee circulated its own controversial draft last week.
The climate change bill also faces crucial tests in the coming weeks, as committee chairmen work to form a palatable version of that legislation. Health care is seen by some observers as having a better chance of passing this year than the energy measure does, but the latter bill will move forward anyway, particularly since Nancy Pelosi wants it to. Also pushing the energy measure: Al Gore, who has "worked the phones" to Congress and provided "informal counsel" to backers of a climate change bill, according to Rick Klein at ABC News.
On the Republican side of the aisle, all is not peaceful between the top 2012 contenders. Sarah Palin has been disinvited from speaking at tonight's big GOP fundraising dinner, Jonathan Martin writes at Politico, so as not to upstage headliner Newt Gingrich. Yes, this is the same event which Palin herself was originally slated to headline, and then backed out. The dinner isn't until tonight, so perhaps she'll change her mind again a few more times.
June 8, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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