NYT: President Obama skipped dessert at a long summit meeting dinner in Cambodia on Monday to rush back to his hotel suite. It was after 11:30 p.m., and his mind was on rockets in Gaza rather than Asian diplomacy. He picked up the telephone to call the Egyptian leader who is the new wild card in his Middle East calculations.
Over the course of the next 25 minutes, he and President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt hashed through ways to end the latest eruption of violence, a conversation that would lead Mr. Obama to send Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the region. As he and Mr. Morsi talked, Mr. Obama felt they were making a connection. Three hours later, at 2:30 in the morning, they talked again.
…. The White House phone log tells part of the tale. Mr. Obama talked with Mr. Morsi three times within 24 hours and six times over the course of several days, an unusual amount of one-on-one time for a president. Mr. Obama told aides he was impressed with the Egyptian leader’s pragmatic confidence. He sensed an engineer’s precision with surprisingly little ideology. Most important, Mr. Obama told aides that he considered Mr. Morsi a straight shooter who delivered on what he promised and did not promise what he could not deliver.
President Obama talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel during a phone call from his hotel suite in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Nov. 19 (Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, aboard Air Force One during the flight from Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Washington, D.C., Nov. 20. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon listens at right. (Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in the Oval Office, Nov. 21. Chief of Staff Jack Lew, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, and Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough listen in the foreground. (Pete Souza)
President Obama, in that shirt, returns a greeting to Bun Rany, wife of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, prior to a gala dinner in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
All times US EST
9:0 PM (tonight): The President participates in the Trans-Pacific Partnership meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
10:45 PM: Meets with Prime Minister Noda of Japan
11:45 PM: Meets with Premier Wen Jiabao of China
1:15 AM: Attends East Asian Summit Plenary Sessions
4:50 AM: Meets and greets with United States Embassy personnel
5:35 AM: Departs Phnom Penh en route Washington, DC
Wednesday: The President returns to Washington, DC in the morning. Later, he will pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey at the White House and the First Family will participate in a service event in the Washington, DC area.
Thursday: The President will celebrate Thanksgiving at the White House. There are no public events scheduled.
Friday: The President has no public events scheduled. The First Lady will be presented with the official White House Christmas Tree at the North Portico.
From left, Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, President Obama, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen and Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah join hands for a group photo at the 4th ASEAN-US meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Nov. 19
Chat away while I go eat. Bob? I’m leaving you in charge – try and get everyone to refocus, thanks. (Good luck with that).