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Obama agenda: New aviation rules

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano today is announcing a new layer of aviation security after the failed Christmas Day attack, according to a senior administration official. "Under the new measures, every passenger from every country traveling to the United States will be subjected to additional screening if they match current, intelligence-driven and threat-based characteristics. These protocols also give the US the ability to now better screen individuals when only fragments of information are known about them."

The New York Times on Obama's visit to Maine yesterday to pitch health care: "President Obama continued on Thursday what might be called his Go-for-It Tour, traveling to this Northeastern state -- represented by two moderate Republican senators who balked at his health care overhaul -- to dare the opposition party to run against it this fall." 

The Boston Globe: "The speech reflected a newly confident tone by the president, whose first year was characterized by an uphill struggle to overhaul health care while fending off complaints he was not paying enough attention to the high unemployment rate. Fellow Democrats, meanwhile, began to grumble that the White House had allowed Republicans to control the message on the issue, making it even harder for congressional Democrats to pass it."

The New York Daily News says Obama "dishes out sarcasm on health care pessimism."

"A light will shine down from somewhere. ... The clouds will part." President Obama visited flood-ravaged regions of Massachusetts yesterday to thank flood workers. "A few hours before the president arrived in the waterlogged region, the dense canopy of clouds that had hung over New England finally cleared, and much-welcomed sunlight began to shine through," the Boston Globe writes.

"Drivers will have to pay more for cars and trucks, but they'll save at the pump under tough new federal rules aimed at boosting mileage, cutting emissions, and hastening the next generation of fuel-stingy hybrids and electric cars," the AP writes. "The new standards, announced yesterday, call for a 35.5 miles per gallon average within six years, up nearly 10 miles per gallon from now."

"President Barack Obama is expected to claim a major foreign policy success when he signs a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev next week -- but it comes at a cost," per the AP. "The hard-negotiated pact took so long to conclude it has jeopardized Obama's chances to achieve another nuclear goal: Senate ratification of a nuclear test ban treaty."

The New York Times says that U.S. relations with China are improving. "Although there is still no agreement on sanctions [on Iran] among members of the Security Council, where China holds a veto, tensions between China and the United States have ebbed significantly in recent days. The countries are now working together to deter Iran's nuclear ambitions and with the Obama administration is backing off a politically charged clash over China's currency." 

And: "Organizing for America, the grassroots arm of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), are selling the shirts for $25 a piece in an effort to fundraise off Biden's slip that healthcare's passage was a 'Big F****** Deal.'"