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Obama agenda: Crunch time


After Obama's "fired up" speech yesterday before unions, the New York Daily News puts the president on its cover with this headline: "It's now or never."

The New York Times on yesterday's Obama speech in Cincinnati: "The president told thousands of cheering unionized workers that Congress should stop debating, because 'it's time to act and get this done.' 'I've got a question for all those folks who say we're going to pull the plug on Grandma,' the president thundered. 'What's your answer? What's your solution? And you know what? They don't have one. Their answer is to do nothing.'"

The Washington Post: "In the lead-up to President Obama's critical Wednesday night address to a joint session of Congress, interviews with a cross section of about 15 House Democrats and half a dozen aides show that there is still overwhelming support for some overhaul of the health-care system. But the caucus remains deeply divided over the details of the more than 1,000-page measure and now faces a public that is more skeptical than when House committees began drafting the plan two months ago."

The Democratic National Committee says it will be announcing the extension of Organizing for America's "Health Insurance Reform Now: Let's Get It Done" bus tour to kick off the next phase of its campaign. Per the DNC, "The first leg of the tour ran from 8/26 thru 9/3, hit 10 cities and attracted over 12k supporters and around 350 protesters.  The next leg kicks off on the night of the President's speech following a watch party in Atlanta, heads to Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Utah and ends in Vegas."

Regarding today's education speech… "After reading the text on Monday, even Jim Greer, the Florida Republican Party chairman who last week accused the president of seeking to use the speech to foist 'socialist ideology' on schoolchildren, said he could find nothing to criticize in its text," the New York Times notes. "'In its current form, it's fine,' Mr. Greer said in an interview. 'But it remains to be seen if it's the speech he's going to give.'"

More: "Administration officials who last week seemed beleaguered by the criticism over the speech said on Monday that they believed it might have allowed them to demonstrate that Republicans were simply intent on attacking anything Mr. Obama proposes. 'It's a sad state of affairs that many in this country politically would rather start an "Animal House" food fight rather than inspire kids to stay in school, to work hard, to engage parents to stay involved,' said Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary."

"White House environmental adviser Van Jones resigned late Saturday after weeks of pressure from the right over his past activism," the Washington Post writes, adding, "Jones issued two public apologies in recent days, one for signing a petition that questioned whether Bush administration officials "may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war" and the other for using a crude term to describe Republicans in a speech he gave before joining the administration."