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White House Cheat Sheet: Obama and X-Factors

President Barack Obama makes his debut on the world stage today in London. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

President Obama makes his debut on the international stage today with a series of one-on-one meetings with world leaders, gatherings as unpredictable as they are interesting.

Obama enters the series of bilaterals (as these meetings are called) in a position of considerable strength, having been elected the first black president of the United States with a 365 electoral vote mandate and high job approval ratings for his first months in office.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that more than six in ten Americans approve of the way he is handling himself in foreign affairs and more than four in ten believe the way America is perceived by the rest of the world has improved under the Obama administration.

Given those numbers, what's the political risk for Obama in today's series of meetings?

Put simply: he is only one half of these bilateral gatherings, and many of his international counterparts face much more difficult political situations in their home countries, making their meetings with Obama all that more important.

Take British Prime Minister Gordon Brown with whom Obama will huddle this morning. In the British press, the G20 summit, which formally begins Thursday in London, is being painted as a huge moment for a prime minister who has struggled in office.

The BBC asked whether the meeting was "make or break" for Brown who trails Conservative party leader David Cameron, with whom Obama will meet later in the day, in polls.

Then there is Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who warmed up for his meeting with Obama by taking a spin in a fighter jet -- a symbolic move widely seen as an attempt to portray himself as a man of stature even as he works to beat back persistent rumors that Prime Minister Vladimir Putinremains the true power in the country.

A meeting with Obama, the newest rock star in international politics, is seen as an opportunity for embattled politicians like Brown and Medvedev to show their mettle -- either by wrapping themselves around Obama in hopes of benefiting from the reflected glow or by breaking sharply and publicly with him to prove their toughness.

Either way, Obama must tread carefully. His agenda in these meetings -- and at the G20 summit -- is likely to be quite different than that of his colleagues, who face political challenges of their own.

What to Watch For:

Wednesday's World Reads: The Fix is nothing if not worldly.

1. President Obama -- in London!
2. Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Secretary designate, has a ("minor") tax problem.
3. Time profiles the two men charged with saving the auto industry. (And a helpful link to the 50 worst cars of all time.)
4. How bad will the April Fool's Day computer worm be?
5. American Airlines will offer wireless internet access on most domestic flights. Woohoo!

ICYMI -- NY-20 (!): The special election in the Upstate New York proved --yet again -- why politics is the best sport in the world (in the words of one high level operative who, like the Fix, followed the vote closely). Here's what we know: Venture capitalist Scott Murphy (D) holds a 65 vote lead over state Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R) with roughly 6,000 absentee votes still to count. Domestic absentees postmarked by March 30 will be accepted through April 7; international absentees will be accepted through April 13. Democrats believe the absentees will slightly favor them, Republicans argue the same. Either way, a districtwide re-canvass is a near certainty. Send in the lawyers!

2012 Like It's Tomorrow: Speaking of the NRSC, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) stops by Washington today to headline a major fundraiser for the group at the Newseum. Romney, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2008, has been the single most active player in the 2012 mix -- keeping much of his political operation in tact and traveling the country in support of Republican causes. Romney's Free and Strong America PAC, at which Beth Myers, who managed Romney's campaign, and Eric Fehrnstrom, a lead spokesman on that effort, work, collected more than $300,000 in February alone and made contributions to several candidates -- including a $5,000 donation to South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R). Make no mistake: Romney is running in 2012 -- barring some sort of unforeseen occurrence. (Sidenote: The Fix is sitting down with the governor today...look for more on our interview in this space tomorrow.)

Hodes Looking Good in N.H.: A new poll out of New Hampshire affirms that Rep. Paul Hodes is the frontrunner in the open seat race to replace Sen. Judd Gregg (R). Conducted by the American Research Group, Hodes leads former Sen. John Sununu, who lost his reelection bid last year to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), by a 42 percent to 36 percent margin. The ARG poll, in fact, may paint a too-optimistic picture for Republicans considering that Sununu has made clear to associates that he has little interest in running again and attempts to convince Gregg to reconsider his retirement have failed. This race held the coveted top slot on the Friday Senate Line before this poll and looks likely to stay there for the foreseeable future.

Fiorina Running in CA?: Former Hewlett Packard executive Carly Fiorina (R) is "seriously considering" a race against Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) in 2010, she tells the San Jose Mercury News. Fiorina was among the most high profile supporters -- particularly on television -- of Sen. John McCain's (Ariz.) presidential bid last year and would likely enjoy considerable national support if she decided to run. Fiorina's personal wealth, assuming she would spend it on the campaign, could also play a major role in making her viable as running statewide in California is a multimillionaire undertaking. Should Fiorina run, she could join former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R) on the ticket. Whitman, who also backed McCain during the general election, is running for the Republican nomination for governor. It's not immediately clear Boxer is vulnerable, however. A February Field poll gave her a 30 point lead over Fiorina in a hypothetical matchup.

Say What?: "If at first you don't succeed, you try, try, try again." -- Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) on his fundraising efforts, which he described as "lousy."

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 1, 2009; 5:40 AM ET
Categories:  Cheat Sheet Share This:  E-Mail | Technorati | Del.icio.us | Digg | Stumble Previous: Murphy Leads Narrowly in New York Special Election
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"radical ACORN Barry's Marxist"


Posted by: mattintx | April 1, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Dear Obama,

Since we Democrats are much better suited to handle foreign policy than those evil Republicans, I just wanted to remind you that while you are in London you need to be sure to remind the Europeans how much longer the U.S. has operated a democratic government than any of them.

Hillary & the Magna Carta

Posted by: dbw1 | April 1, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

"this administrations budget and unimaginable spending, increased taxes, redistribution of income"

like i said on the other FIX, show me where -in the 5 laws that President Obama has signed is there:
"unimaginable spending" (bush's mistakes were big ones to fix).
"increased taxes"? where in HR1 is that? and for what and going where?
"redistribution of income" - where HR1 is that redistribution evident? I know where it was evident in the Economic Stabliziation Act of 2008, but ((Cough cough)) that was Bush's.

And I ask all who are bashing this President of 75 days.......
have you read Public Law 111-5?????
do you even know which one that is???

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 1, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

The liberals that truly are stuck on stupid supporting this administrations budget and unimaginable spending, increased taxes, redistribution of income and intrusiveness suffered head trauma long ago. They really have no clue, absolutely no idea what the radical ACORN Barry's Marxist intentions are. Simply naive and ignorant on what is going on. There is no way to convince them otherwise. They just numbly sit and wait for the government to comfort them, angry in their class envy due to their own ineptness. And ACORN Barry has them right where he wants them. Pitiful really.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | April 1, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Being a dick for head, that's naturally where you would go. :)

Posted by: Smooth_Jazz | April 1, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"kkkoolkat sounds pretty upset. Maybe you should listen to Glen Beck and have yourself a good cry. Everyone feels better after a bit of crying."

Why would I listen to "Glen" Beck, schyt-for-brains?

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | April 1, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Knock it off. Impersonation of another user is against site rules.

Posted by: mattintx | April 1, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

By the way, my ignorant friend, some people do spell Glen with one 'n.'



Posted by: Smooth_Jazz | April 1, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Uh-oh, looks like another guy has been traumatized by the grammarian. How many times did he sodomize you?

Posted by: Smooth_Jazz | April 1, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse


The _real_ Smooth_Jazz knows there are 2 N's in Glenn.

Posted by: mattintx | April 1, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

kkkoolkat sounds pretty upset. Maybe you should listen to Glen Beck and have yourself a good cry. Everyone feels better after a bit of crying.

Posted by: Smooth_Jazz | April 1, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

C'mon zouk -- tell us where to send a contribution to help support you in your unemployment. You amuse us all every day with your simian antics, let us help you out, poor wretched creature.

And today, appropriately April Fool's Day, the Fools of the Republican Party release a 'budget' gurantted to make you LOL -- and drive the country into a Depression.

thank god these inept clowns are out of power!

"WASHINGTON – Republicans in the House Wednesday pressed a budget plan today that would cut taxes and radically overhaul Medicare, offering a stark alternative to blueprints offered by President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies.

The plan, drafted by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the top Republican on the Budget Committee, also freezes overall spending on domestic programs passed by Congress each year and repeals most of the spending in Obama's recently passed economic stimulus bill.

Despite spending reductions, the plan projects permanent deficits exceeding $500 billion into the future, fueled largely by big tax cuts.

The GOP plan would offer a dramatically simplified tax code in which couples would have the option of a 10 percent rate on the first $100,000 of income, with a 25 percent rate thereafter, with the first $25,000 of income exempt from taxation. Single could get a $12,500 exemption and a 10 percent rate on income up to $50,000.

Taxpayers could also opt to remain in the current system.
On Medicare, workers under the age of 55 would enroll in private plans and receive premium subsidies equal to the average Medicare benefit when they retire. Benefits would not be changed for people in the program or people 55 or older.
Democrats warned that the GOP plan would force draconian cuts to the program."

Posted by: drindl | April 1, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

BFD. He's still a scumbag, just like OJ is still a murderer.

Blame the Bush Justice Dept. for bungling this slam dunk case. Guess they are "libs" too, eh zook?

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | April 1, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

my apologies go to mibrooks.
i will make sure i have all my facts straight on stuff.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle are taking Europe by storm.
Far outweighing the comparisons to JFK (which is all I have heard this morning).
And Carla will not be around.
Good PR move I guess.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 1, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Stop chasing the straw man and using scaring words that dont relate to anything.

Its called reality, come live in it.

Ony 20 hours till your next Teleprompter, Marxist, messiah, ACORN post on tomorrows cheat sheet. Looking forward to it.

Posted by: tallertapas311 | April 1, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"Meanwhile Stevens is run put of office on trumped up charges. But you don't think the libs could won on actual issues did you?"

But it was the 'libs' who set him free. He was prosecuted by the former administration's justice dept.


Posted by: bsimon1 | April 1, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Are Europe's leaders wary? Why wouldn't they be?

There's an old saying in Europe - I know it's in Texas, probably in Europe - that says:

Fool me once, shame on
shame on you?
Fool me, can't get FOOLED again.

Posted by: mattintx | April 1, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

News of the day - more libs discovered as tax cheats. Is there one honest lib out there? What a bunch of bungling incompetents. Can't find find a cabinet post much less a first dog.

Meanwhile Stevens is run put of office on trumped up charges. But you don't think the libs could won on actual issues did you?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 1, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Yeah Obama uses teleprompters! Palin, and Fox News never use teleprompters! (snickers)

lol I'm going to go watch Glenn Beck now and have myself a good cry. (* sobs *)

Posted by: Smooth_Jazz | April 1, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Chris, you allege that Obama being the first black President makes his position stronger. Why do you believe that?

Posted by: Smooth_Jazz | April 1, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

URGENT TO: Attorney General Eric Holder (staff, please forward)

cc: Rahm Emanuel; David Axelrod; Jay Carney; White House staff






Google it.

YOU -- or someone close to you -- could be the next victim.

Unless Team Obama -- especially AG Holder, SecDef Gates, SecDHS Napolitano, SecTreas Geithner -- take down the draconian Bush-Cheney extrajudicial punishment network...

...an array of secret "programs of personal financial destruction" and a government-funded network of vigilante "community stalking"... using the GPS satellite system to hunt and harass human prey (with the full knowledge of law enforcement)...

...coupled with the proliferation of mind- and body-degrading "directed energy" microwave radiation weapons -- the Zyklon-B of a grassroots, government-enabled American Gestapo.

Attorney General Holder, you must act NOW to restore human and civil rights in America.

Before the naivete of liberals empowers the saboteurs and Dr. Strangeloves who say "No!" to change.


Where is the civil rights division investigation that victims have demanded?

Or is there "nothing to investigate" -- because the government already knows all about this?


Posted by: scrivener50 | April 1, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

From blogger AnonymousLiberal:

The notion that there is anyone of significance on the American left who still believes in anything approaching genuine socialism is pure fantasy. That debate, to the extent it ever really happened in this country, was settled a long time ago. What we're dealing with right now are differences of opinion regarding how best to manage the failure of a number of major companies. It's not a debate about socialism vs. capitalism; it's a debate about methods of damage control. But many conservatives have so deluded themselves with their own propaganda that they're not even capable of following the conversation any more. So instead they spend all day indulging in paranoid delusions and debates that have no relevance to current events. It's a sad spectacle.


Posted by: tallertapas311 | April 1, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

You guys are too easy and predictable
CHANGEWHAT must be a obsessive compulsive:
1. Wake Up
2. Check FIX
3. write post dissing Obama using ACORN Barry and Marxist
4. Sulk for next 23 hours
5. repeat

Same old story. Show US some change.

Posted by: tallertapas311 | April 1, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I am a non-believer who still has their fingers crossed for this visit..I think the EU types will say one thing to his face and then go right back to America bashing upon their return to the continent.

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 1, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

It is difficult to imagine that so many Obama haters are still upchucking all of their tiresome chunks of vomit--Obama the "Messiah", Obama the socialist, Marxist commie, Obama the illegal immigrant, Obama the terrorist associate, Obama the black racist, Obama the traitor who refuses to wear one of those dumb flagpins.

All of this preposterous claptrap came out of talk radio from Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Ingraham, Savage, Hewitt and Coulter, dribbling froth from the corners of their mouths and blathering incoherently about things they really don't believe in like freedom of speech, press and assembly.

Posted by: jaxas | April 1, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Obama's "cheat sheet". His entire corrupt tax cheat administration. What a joke. A corrupt arrogant don't do as I do, do as I say fraudulent administration. ACORN Barry is a radical agitator Marxist hack with a corrupt punk like administration.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | April 1, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Would you prefer 4,000 dead GI's compared to a few drones shot down??

Or would you favor invading Pakistan.

How can anyone take what you say seriously?

Posted by: PJF311 | April 1, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Obama's foreign policy seems to rely primarily on the use of predator drones! Is that what Americans are impressed with?

Posted by: yoschoharo | April 1, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

This morning the proto-allies of old europe seem to be dishing Obama upside the head.

Posted by: nowanna1 | April 1, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Zouk must be a obsessive compulsive:
1. Wake Up
2. Check FIX
3. write post dissing Obama using messiah and telprompter
4. Sulk for next 23 hours
5. repeat

Same old story. Show US some change.

Posted by: tallertapas311 | April 1, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Zouk, you hit 3 off my points in the first post of the day. I was expecting at least 5.

You have such tired answers. No teleprompters because HE DOESNT NEED THEM. He has done as many primetime press conferences and Bush and Clinton did in there first 2 years each.

And i saw the footage today and there were some adoring crowds and some fawning press.

I dont think one of his promises were assimilating to Europe, but keep up the lame OUTRAGES.

Posted by: tallertapas311 | April 1, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

WHAT messiah? And whose, other than yours, zuke?

Posted by: mattintx | April 1, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Poor messiah. No fawning press. No teleprompters. No adoring crowds. No acceptance of his out of control spending. I was under the impression all our allies would immediately fall in line under the spell of The One.

Another empty promise.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 1, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Will Obama's numbers take a hit here if he is embarrassed by world leaders in London?


Posted by: parkerfl1 | April 1, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Good list, but be sure to add "socialism." Don't forget that the president and his "Gestapo" are on the march to abolish capitalism.

Uh, right? :)

Posted by: mattintx | April 1, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Looking forward to a day of posts saying Obama thinks he is the messiah, uses a teleprompter, isnt natural born citizen, has the middle name Hussein, is weak and will lay down for Europe, wants to destroy the dollar, gives bad presents to Gordon Brown, compares England to Oregon, ... blah blah blah fake Outrages that take away from all the real change he is making.

Go watch Glenn Beck,

66%!!!!!! Go Obama!!!!!

Posted by: tallertapas311 | April 1, 2009 6:51 AM | Report abuse

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