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Obama agenda: WH vs. Congress

The Washington Post has a C.W.-setting piece on the Obama administration's agenda. "Obama and his aides have proved adept at navigating the politics and eccentricities of the legislative branch. But as lawmakers attempt to navigate much trickier and more contentious issues in the second half of the year, the narrow margin of Friday's energy vote served as a warning: The higher the stakes, the tougher the challenge in finding consensus within what has become a diverse Democratic majority."

Video: NBC's Andrea Mitchell talks with Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., about a last-minute provision to the House-approved cap and trade bill, which would require President Barack Obama's successors to tariff goods from nations that do not limit greenhouse gas emissions.

More: "Maintaining a sense of common interest across the party is a paramount goal. Early on, administration officials and Democratic leaders agreed they would steer clear of controversial social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. And to the discontent of many liberal Democrats, Congress intends to remain generally silent on those fronts... For the White House, the trick is to keep a firm grip without appearing overly meddlesome."

The New York Times, meanwhile, has a look at how the Obama administration is trying to move the health care campaign outside the Beltway. "With members of Congress back in their districts for the Fourth of July recess, Mr. Obama's political group, Organizing for America, has recruited thousands of supporters to participate in blood drives, raise money for medical research and volunteer at community health clinics this week, all with the intent of sending reminders to lawmakers that the public wants action on health care. 'The main thing,' David Axelrod, Mr. Obama's senior adviser, said, 'is to involve as many people as possible and demonstrate in a variety of ways the level and degree of intensity of support that this has.' Of Mr. Obama's supporters, Mr. Axelrod said, 'There's no issue that motivates them more than health care.'"

Video: President Obama asks for video and online questions about health care ahead of a July 1 virtual town hall on the topic.

The White House's favorite right-of-center columnist, David Brooks, laments the dominance Congress has over writing legislation. "The great paradox of the age is that Barack Obama, the most riveting of recent presidents, is leading us into an era of Congressional dominance. And Congressional governance is a haven for special interest pleading and venal logrolling. When the executive branch is dominant you often get coherent proposals that may not pass. When Congress is dominant, as now, you get politically viable mishmashes that don't necessarily make sense."

The AP writes, "Four divisive issues could dash President Barack Obama's hopes of overhauling health care: cost, creating a government-run plan, taxing workers' benefits and penalizing employers that don't offer coverage."

The AP also analyzes Obama's response to the coup in Honduras.