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Obama agenda: Meeting Abbas

President Obama meets today with Palestinian Authority's Abbas. "The two leaders will talk one-on-one in the Oval Office before being joined by aides," the AP says. "After, the president will meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then with senior advisers in the Oval Office." 
 

"Top Palestinian officials traveling with President Mahmoud Abbas said he was working to repackage a 2002 Saudi Arabian plan that called for exchange of Arab land occupied by Israel in the 1967 war for normalized relations with Arab countries," the AP adds. "Obama's meeting with Abbas is the third of four key sessions the administration had planned as the president tries to reinvigorate the push for Middle East peace, an accord that has eluded American leaders, the Israelis and their Arab neighbors for more than a half-century." 
 
Obama's National Security Adviser James Jones downplayed the North Korean threat in a speech yesterday. He said it WASN'T an "imminent threat." "Nothing that the North Koreans did surprised us," Jones said, per The Hill. "We knew that they were going to do this, they said so, so no reason not to believe them."
 
Secretary Clinton welcomed back to the U.S. Roxana Saberi, the journalist held in Iran.

The AP covers Obama's fundraiser in Los Angeles last night, where the president "defended his Supreme Court pick and painted an upbeat vision of the economy… 'It's safe to say we have stepped back from the brink, that there is some calm that didn't exist before,' Obama told donors and celebrities at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. He said the stimulus bill that Congress passed three months ago is starting to improve the economy. 
 
Politico points out that Obama compared himself to FDR during his remarks. "I would put these first four months up against any prior administration since FDR," Obama said. "We didn't ask for the challenges that we face, but we don't shrink from them either."

He was also greeted by gay-rights protestors, who urged that he abolish the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. "During the protest, the crowd chanted, 'Out of the court, into the streets, we are ready to fight, we won't be beat,'" The Los Angeles Times writes. "It was a reference to Tuesday's state Supreme Court decision to uphold Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage." 
 
MSNBC anchor Carlos Watson, writing on TheStimulist.com, argues though that the Prop. 8 decision actually "will hasten national acceptance of gay marriage… Progressive Californians, embarrassed by falling behind states like Iowa and Maine, will no doubt challenge [Tuesday's] decision at the ballot box in 2010. And next year no one -- from Ellen Degeneres to the least-known supporter of gay marriage -- will take victory for granted."

Obama named several plum ambassadorships yesterday. "For the plum London appointment, Obama turned to Louis Susman, a retired vice chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking," the AP writes. "A former Salomon Brothers employee, he won a commission appointment from President Ronald Reagan and was a director for the St. Louis Cardinals for more than a decade. He also has raised hundreds of millions in campaign donations for Democrats."