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First 100 days: Europe, here we come

The Sunday New York Times curtain-raised Obama's upcoming trip to Europe. "Despite his immense popularity around the world, Mr. Obama will confront resentment over American-style capitalism and resistance to his economic prescriptions when he lands in London on Tuesday for the Group of 20 summit meeting of industrial and emerging market nations plus the European Union. The president will not even try to overcome NATO's unwillingness to provide more troops in Afghanistan when he goes on later in the week to meet with the military alliance."  

USA Today calls the trip "one of the most anticipated presidential trips since John Kennedy went to Berlin in 1963… Still new on the world stage at 47, Obama will meet privately with at least six presidents, prime ministers and a king in London, then five more as he travels on to France, Germany, the Czech Republic and Turkey. He'll attend three summits, deliver two major addresses and hold a roundtable with students in Istanbul. He'll take time out to see Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and sightsee from Strasbourg to Istanbul." 

President Obama gave an interview to the Financial Times over the weekend, in which he voiced "optimism that this week's crucial G20 summit will set the framework for recovery, saying that world leaders know they must 'deliver a strong message of unity' for the sake of the global economy."

More: "Mr Obama played down talk of a split between the US and the leading continental European economies, notably Germany and France… In comments that appear to diverge from recent remarks by Ms Merkel, who has all but ruled out more deficit spending in Germany, Mr Obama said: 'With respect to the stimulus, there is going to be an accord that G20 countries will do what is necessary to promote trade and growth.' He added: 'The most important task for all of us is to deliver a strong message of unity in the face of crisis.'"

The AP: "From taking in Guantanamo Bay prisoners to sending more troops into Afghanistan's most difficult regions and spending their way out of economic crisis, European nations remain reticent about some of the toughest US priorities."

Covering Obama's appearance on CBS yesterday, the Washington Post reports that the president said his predecessor's administration had lost focus on Afghanistan. "'What we want to do is refocus attention on al-Qaeda. We are going to root out their networks, their bases,' he said on CBS's 'Face the Nation' on the eve of his first overseas trip. He added: 'We have to ensure that neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan can serve as a safe haven for al-Qaeda.'"

More: "Much as he did in announcing his strategy on Friday, Obama stuck to discussing a battle against al-Qaeda and said little about the Taliban, which controls much of southern Afghanistan, where much of the fighting is taking place. The president mentioned al-Qaeda eight times in the half-hour interview, while his one mention of the Taliban referred to its control of Afghanistan at the beginning of the decade." 

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said on the Sunday shows, "The market will not solve this." He also "defended his approach to fixing the country's economic mess yesterday, saying 'the market will not solve this' while disclosing a bailout fund for battered banks has $135 billion left and might need more," the AP writes.
Also, Geithner said, "We were going to have to do things that are going to be deeply unpopular, hard to understand. We're not going to get it perfect everywhere… This job, it comes with a lot of heat by definition and there's nothing surprising in that." And: "It's very important for people to understand that, you know, it took us a long time to get into this mess. It's going to take us a while to get out of this," he said. "Progress is not going to be even. It's not going to be steady."

"Don't expect any change soon to the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy about gays in the military. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday that both he and President Obama have 'a lot on our plates right now.' As Gates put it, 'let's push that one down the road a little bit.'"

Obama nominated former Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus to be secretary of the Navy on Friday.

The New York Times writes up Mabus' controversial divorce. 

Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons writes that "not all executives behaved like Bernie Madoff. While avid readers of the business press may know that some bank CEOs -- such as Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and John Mack of Morgan Stanley -- did not take bonuses this year, the rest of America does not. Highlighting responsible actions that contrast with the current narrative may not generate the kind of cheering that occurs in a Final Four game, but at least the crowd might stop throwing eggs at all the players on the court."

And HHS has a new report on the cost of inaction when it comes to enacting health-care reform.