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Obama agenda: On tomorrow's speech

Per the New York Times, "President Obama plans to lay out a time frame for winding down the American involvement in the war in Afghanistan when he announces his decision this week to send more forces, senior administration officials said Sunday. Although the speech was still in draft form, the officials said the president wanted to use the address at the United States Military Academy at West Point on Tuesday night not only to announce the immediate order to deploy roughly 30,000 more troops, but also to convey how he intends to turn the fight over to the Kabul government."

The Washington Post: "President Obama has offered Pakistan an expanded strategic partnership, including additional military and economic cooperation, while warning with unusual bluntness that its use of insurgent groups to pursue policy goals 'cannot continue.' The offer, including an effort to help reduce tensions between Pakistan and India, was contained in a two-page letter delivered to President Asif Ali Zardari this month by Obama national security adviser James L. Jones. It was accompanied by assurances from Jones that the United States will increase its military and civilian efforts in Afghanistan and that it plans no early withdrawal."


Video
: Chuck Todd discusses details about the president's preperations for his address on Afghanistan.

"A day before he is scheduled to announce a new strategy in Afghanistan, President Obama is under increasing pressure to explain how his administration intends to pay the rising costs of military operations in Afghanistan, which average about $3.6 billion per month," the Boston Globe writes. "Both Republicans and Democrats pressed the issue yesterday, previewing the political minefield that Obama will face when he addresses the nation from West Point tomorrow. Key Republicans said they intend to support him on his expected plan to send more troops, but called on him to curb domestic spending on items they oppose."

A Washington Post editorial puts it well regarding Obama's challenge Tuesday night. "Both Americans and Afghans wonder whether the president believes in the war and has the will to win it. Among his challenges Tuesday will be to put those doubts to rest." 

Politics Daily's David Corn asks a fascinating question: "Can a president declare a war must be won but not proclaim he'll wage that war for as many years as is necessary to succeed? That is the contradiction that President Barack Obama will be obligated to explain on Tuesday night when he addresses the nation from West Point to explain his apparent decision to send some 30,000 additional US soldiers to the cauldron of Afghanistan."

The Los Angeles Times notes recent comments by various administration officials, who paint the Afghanistan picture a tad more optimistically. Will we hear an optimistic vision for Afghanistan tomorrow? 

The New York Daily News: "President Obama's high-stakes Afghanistan buildup was zinged from all sides Sunday, with Republicans generally more sympathetic as Democrats gave their commander in chief tepid support."

Speaking of… Roll Call looks at the continuing storyline of liberal disaffection with Obama: "Cracks are widening between President Barack Obama and his liberal base on Capitol Hill, adding to his headaches as he tries to overcome rising unemployment and carry out a controversial new strategy for Afghanistan. Angst in the Democratic Party's left flank has been building all year. Liberal lawmakers chafed at Obama's slow-walking of immigration reform and his embrace of anti-immigrant language in the health care bill. They wished he had put up more of a fight for a public insurance option. They have complained that Obama's economic team has been too friendly to big Wall Street firms while doing too little to help small businesses and create jobs, and has tried to delay a transportation bill that would put thousands of people to work. And now Obama appears poised to announce a massive escalation of the war in Afghanistan."