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Obama agenda: A plethora of pinatas?

"Leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico -- the trio known as 'the three amigos' -- gathered in Mexico on Sunday to begin a summit that will likely focus on such vexing issues as drug-cartel violence, immigration, economic recovery and the swine flu… The summit will continue until Monday afternoon, when the trio are expected to address reporters before going home. Harper will come to Washington next month for a Sept. 16 meeting with Obama."

Reuters: "At the top of their agenda are the economy, trade and grappling with Mexican gangs that dominate the drug trade over the US border and up into Canada." 
 
The AP: "President Barack Obama's first North American summit is proving it's a lot easier to agree on battling a killer flu virus than to untangle knotty disputes over cross-border trade." The "main accomplishment will likely be a joint plan of attack for swine flu. But there was little chance of any breakthrough in long-running squabbles over Mexican trucks, or U.S. 'Buy American' rules or how best to curb the deadly flow of drugs across the frontier."

Regarding those town halls, the Obama political arm is fighting back both officially on the White House web site and unofficially via the DNC.
 
On the DNC front, per Politico, "Organizing for America, President Obama's political organization, is urging supporters to visit the district offices of their local member of Congress to urge support for healthcare reform -- another move by Democrats to counter the loud opposition being voiced by conservatives at town halls. In an email message sent Sunday, Organizing for America director Mitch Stewart tries to motivate Obama backers by warning that "[i]nsurance companies and partisan attack groups are stirring up fear with false rumors."

And here's a new Web site the White House has unveiled: "Health Insurance Reform Reality Check." 

"The federal deficit grew by another $181 billion in July," The Hill says. "Bailouts for financial firms and billions in tax revenue lost because of the recession drove the deficit to a record $1.3 trillion in July, according to the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Tax receipts that have fallen due to the poor economy and increased spending to save car companies, banks and mortgage firms were major contributors to the federal deficit, according to CBO, which provides official budget numbers for Congress." 

Wow, um, this headline in the Wall Street Journal isn't exactly comforting. And it comes AFTER the U.S. is claiming credit for killing the top Taliban commander. 

"James Jones, a retired Marine general with experience in Afghanistan, said the United States will know by the end of next year whether the strategy President Barack Obama announced in March is working," AP writes. "In the meantime the White House is redefining how it will measure progress, with new benchmarks expected next month. The outline will be presented to Congress with an eye to creeping skepticism among many Democrats about the war's prognosis and costs. Making the rounds of the Sunday talk shows, Jones said the war is not now in crisis but did little to dispel the growing expectation that Obama would soon be asked to supplement the 21,000 additional forces he already approved for Afghanistan this year." 

More Jones: "The North Koreans have indicated they would like a new relation, a better relation with the United States," he said in on "Fox News Sunday" when asked about former U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to North Korea last week. ... Jones later said on NBC's 'Meet the Press' that Clinton had stressed to the North Koreans that they must abandon their ambitions to build nuclear weapons and return to six-party talks at denuclearizing the Korean peninsula."

And here's a quote: "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday that more U.S. troops would be needed to fight in Afghanistan to prevent the same mistakes that sent Iraq into a tailspin. 'Don't Rumsfeld Afghanistan,' Graham said on CBS' 'Face the Nation.'"