AP: After a nine-day trip through Asia in which he showed command on the world stage, President Barack Obama is headed back to debt-deadlocked Washington, where he’ll confront fresh reminders of the limits of his power at home.
Obama departed from Bali’s international airport Saturday afternoon for a 21-hour flight that, factoring in time-zone changes, was to return him to the White House before dawn Sunday.
He’ll be arriving days ahead of a deadline for a congressional supercommittee to produce recommendations to attack the country’s deficit. But even though the president spoke to the supercommittee leaders from Air Force One as he headed out of town and urged them to get a deal, the panel is no further along than when Obama left Washington: frozen stuck along partisan lines.
…. Obama set out in his Asia-Pacific tour to deepen U.S. engagement in a fast-growing region that the White House views as increasingly critical to America’s security and economic prosperity. He achieved some successes, including progress on a regional free-trade deal that could pay off with U.S. jobs, and a new military agreement with Australia that will boost the U.S. defense posture in the region by deploying more marines and U.S. aircraft to Australia.
… On China, throughout his trip Obama sent both public and private signals to the rising giant, cementing American power in a manner seen to counter China, and scolding Chinese leaders about the need to play by the rules economically. On the final day of his trip, Saturday in Indonesia, Obama held a surprise meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of an East Asia summit, focusing on the economic matters that have prompted disputes between the two major world powers.
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….. next to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda
… with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Washington Post: President Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held an unscheduled meeting Saturday morning on the sidelines of a summit of Asian leaders on the Indonesian island of Bali, and the two briefly discussed the territorial dispute in the South China Sea that has unnerved some of China’s neighbors.
…. The surprise session came at the end of Obama’s 9-day Asia trip, that began with a stop in Hawaii and took him to Australia’s northern coast and to the capital, Canberra….
…. Throughout the trip, Obama stressed that his mission was to find new markets in Asia for American products and link the U.S. recovery to this region’s dynamic growth.
But a strong subtext of the administration’s announced pivot to Asia has been shoring up longstanding alliances and reassuring traditional allies that the United States would help counter a newly assertive China, which is increasing its military spending and pressing its territorial claims in the region.
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Reuters: Myanmar’s government vowed on Saturday to address concerns raised by President Barack Obama, outlining far-reaching plans to make peace with ethnic rebels, gradually release more political prisoners and relax controls on freedom of expression.
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President Obama boards Air Force One as he leaves Bali for Washington, Nov. 19
I know, we wished Donna a happy birthday yesterday …. but it turns out I was a day early
Rahm Emanuel’s speech at the Iowa Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Des Moines tonight will be live on C-Span at 8:30 ET – here