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Obama agenda: The U.N. address

The Boston Globe on Obama's U.N. address yesterday: "In a speech punctuated at least eight times by applause -- rare at the United Nations -- Obama signaled a sharp break with the policies of President Bush and echoed the themes of his own presidential campaign. He exhorted world leaders to act together to combat global warming, nuclear proliferation, extreme poverty, and continuing conflict in the Middle East." 

The New York Times: "President Obama, in his first visit to the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, made progress Wednesday on two key issues, wringing a concession from Russia to consider tough new sanctions against Iran and securing support from Moscow and Beijing for a Security Council resolution to curb nuclear weapons." 

More: "Russian President Dmitry Medvedev opened the door Wednesday to backing potential sanctions as a reward for President Barack Obama's decision to scale back a U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe. While U.S. and Russian officials denied a flat-out quid pro quo, Medvedev told the U.N. General Assembly that Obama's pivot on a missile defense plan long loathed by Moscow 'deserves a positive response.'"

The Washington Post looks at Obama's day at the UN. "President Obama will use the forum of the U.N. Security Council on Thursday to press his efforts to slow the spread of nuclear weapons and reduce global stockpiles."

Then, at the G-20, "Obama will tell world leaders that the global economy cannot continually rely on huge borrowing and spending by Americans and massive exports by countries such as China. In informal chats and fancy receptions at the two-day summit beginning Thursday, the buzz words will be 'balanced and sustainable.'"

The New York Times focuses on the city hosting the G-20, Pittsburgh. "'Since early August, journalists, dignitaries and safety officials have been visiting our city, eating at our restaurants, shopping in our stores and staying in our hotels," [Mayor Luke] Ravenstahl, 29, said. 'That's just the short-term gain. In the long-term, you really can't put a dollar value on the amount of free marketing we've received worldwide.' The mayor said Pittsburgh's story of economic transformation had helped to dispel 'our city's 'smoky' image and replace it with the real 'green' image, which tells the story of how you can reinvent and diversify your economy.'" 

Education Secretary Arne Duncan will lay out the administration's goals for No Child Left Behind. The administration, he will say, wants to revise it, but still keep the standardized testing methods of measuring student achievement. School districts have long complained that the accountability measured outlined in NCLB are not paid for by the federal government and that local school districts are expected to come up with the funds on their own to get in compliance. Duncan will say that there are some federal funds allocated for districts to come up with better assessments.

And it's not just Jimmy Carter… Walter Mondale now says race is a factor in some of the opposition to President Obama. "'I don't like saying it,' Mondale continued. 'Having lived through those years, when civil rights was such a bitter issue, and when we argued those things for years… I know that some of that must still be around.' More from Mondale: "I don't want to pick a person, say, he's a racist, but I do think the way they're piling on Obama, the harshness, you kind of feel it," he said. "I think I see an edge in them that's a little bit different and a little harsher than I've seen in other times."