Today: The President departs Honolulu, Hawaii, en route to Canberra, Australia (1:30 ET)
Wednesday (Australian time): Arrives in Australia. Has a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Gillard, the two leaders then holding a joint press conference. Attends a parliamentary dinner at the Australian Parliament House that night where he will make remarks about the U.S.-Australian relationship.
Thursday: Begins his day by laying a wreath at an Australian war memorial; meets with opposition leader Tony Abbott; addresses the Australian Parliament; visits a local primary school with PM Gillard; visits the US embassy. Leaves Canberra for Darwin. Visits a memorial to the USS Peary and lays a wreath. The President and PM Gillard together address Australian troops. That concludes the Australia portion of the visit. The President flies that night to Bali, Indonesia.
Friday: Attends a number of bilateral meetings. Meets with the Prime Minister of India and the leaders of Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia. Meets with the ASEAN nations, the 10 Southeast Asian nations. Meets with President Yudhoyono of Indonesia; attends an East Asia dinner that night.
Saturday: The East Asian Summit takes place through the day. At its conclusion the President returns to the United States.
Bloomberg: Less than 12 months from the presidential election, the U.S. economy has moved from recovery to expansion, prompting similar shifts in President Barack Obama’s political prospects.
The unemployment rate moved downward last month ….. the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in seven months two weeks ago, a sign the recovery may be encouraging companies to limit cuts in headcount. And a private outplacement company is predicting that jobs losses in the government sector, a drag on U.S. employment, may be leveling off.
Gains in household spending, the biggest part of the economy, last quarter led economists to raise their growth forecasts for the remainder of this year and for 2012 … The services industry and manufacturing both continue to expand….
Full article here
CNN: The public is divided over the idea of requiring all Americans to have health insurance, according to a new national survey. But a CNN/ORC International Poll also indicates that support for the proposal, a cornerstone of the 2010 health care reform law, has risen since June.
…. According to the poll, 52% of Americans favor mandatory health insurance, up from 44% in June. The survey indicates that 47% oppose the health insurance mandate, down from 54% in early summer.
“The health insurance mandate has gained most support since June among older Americans and among lower-income Americans,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “A majority of independents opposed the measure in June, but 52 percent of them now favor it.”
LA Times: The day the Supreme Court gathered behind closed doors to consider the politically divisive question of whether it would hear a challenge to President Obama’s healthcare law, two of its justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, were feted at a dinner sponsored by the law firm that will argue the case before the high court.
….. The lawyer who will stand before the court and argue that the law should be thrown out is likely to be Paul Clement, who served as U.S. solicitor general during the George W. Bush administration.
Clement’s law firm, Bancroft PLLC, was one of almost two dozen firms that helped sponsor the annual dinner of the Federalist Society, a longstanding group dedicated to advocating conservative legal principles …
…. The featured guests at the dinner? Scalia and Thomas.
Full article here