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First 100 days: No European vacation

Politico's Martin writes, "Talking to reporters last week in Washington, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs jokingly called this trip 'our European vacation.' Hardly."

"Nary a beer stein has been seen in President Barack Obama's hands since he crossed the Atlantic and arrived in London Tuesday night. Instead he's kept to a grueling schedule of summits, bilateral meetings and public appearances. They've all been carefully choreographed for media consumption but so tightly packed together as to limit any opportunities for him to duck away for a glimpse at Europe outside his cordon."

Obama said "he stood by his 2008 assertion that Ottoman Turks carried out widespread killings of Armenians early in the 20th century, finessing the sensitive issue by stopping short of repeating the word 'genocide,'" the AP notes. "The Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence," Obama said in a January 2008 statement on his campaign Web site. "America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that president."

More from the AP: "NATO's reluctance to match the U.S. troop buildup in Afghanistan may not undercut President Barack Obama's new war strategy so long as the allies carry through on pledges to contribute more nonmilitary assistance. But in the longer run, an uneven sharing of the combat load in Afghanistan could doom U.S. hopes for relying on NATO as a partner in future conflicts." NATO pledged 5,000 additional troops. "The NATO additions are not insubstantial. But they pale beside Obama's decision to send 21,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines this year to buttress 38,000 American troops fighting the Taliban."

The Washington Post notes that Obama's Organizing for America didn't have much of an impact in the debate over the budget. "The capstone of the campaign was the delivery of 214,000 signatures to Capitol Hill, which swayed few, if any, members of Congress, according to legislative aides from both parties. The episode underscores the difficulty that Obama and his supporters face in attempting to transfer the excitement of a historic presidential campaign to the mundane and complex process of pushing legislation through Congress. It also comes as something of a relief to beleaguered Republicans, who cast the relatively humble pledge campaign as a sign of broader disaffection with Obama's economic priorities."

"The new head of General Motors on Sunday [appearing on Meet the Press] said he agreed with the Obama administration's schedule for the company's future, saying that while the administration took 'a hard look' at the struggling U.S. domestic industry, it concluded that a healthy future remains possible."

The New York Times profiles the Obama administration's auto industry trouble-shooter, Steven Rattner. "Mr. Rattner, a well-known media banker, is playing a central role as car czar lite, traveling to Detroit to visit plants, meeting with the automakers' bankers, unions and bondholders, and advising the White House on which companies seem salvageable and how. If he succeeds, he may get a chance at a larger job in the administration. That is a big if."

The Washington Post's coverage of last night's open-press ceremony at Dover Air Force Base: "The wind can whip cold across the tarmac at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, freezing fingers that hold the flag-draped metal transfer case in which lie the remains of a fellow service member. You do not loosen your grip. You do not shuffle your feet. You do not grimace. If you have to yawn, you do it through your nose. You swallow your coughs and sneezes, let itches go unscratched. Keep your mouth closed, eyes straight and the blinking to an absolute minimum."

"Those are the rules when it's 4 a.m. and it's dark and there's no one around. Those were the rules last night when the ritual of welcoming home the fallen was open to the public for the first time since President George H.W. Bush instituted a ban on news coverage in 1991."