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Obama agenda: A jump start?

"President Barack Obama hopes to rally new momentum behind the push for an immigration overhaul by explaining why he thinks a comprehensive approach is the only way to fix what he and others say is a system badly in need of repair," the AP writes, adding, "Obama wasn't expected to announce any new proposals or policy changes. But feeling pressure from a range of supporters, he was aiming to jump-start the effort he had promised to make a priority in his first year and which advocates had hoped would be completed by now."

The New York Daily News: "Congress isn't likely to take up immigration reform before the November midterm elections, but Obama 'thought this was a good time to talk plainly with the American people about his views,' said spokesman Bill Burton. 'Most specifically, he thinks this debate is about accountability -- accountability for securing the border, accountability for employers who are hiring illegal immigrants, and accountability for those who are in this country illegally,' Burton added."

The Washington Post: "Democrats are pessimistic about actually passing any new immigration laws this year, in part because the lead Republican partner in Congress, Senator Lindsey Graham (S.C.), has said Congress should proceed with other issues instead. Nonetheless, the president has been looking for ways to appear more proactive, rather than reactive, on immigration -- a hot-button political issue that is important to Hispanics in the Democratic base, who could play an important part in the outcome of the midterm elections."


The AP says that in addition to his immigration speech, the president "will sign tough new sanctions Thursday against Iran over its nuclear development program."

Harry Reid is also meeting with Obama this afternoon.

The Wall Street Journal points out that the tax on tanning salons -- to help finance the health-care bill -- begins today.

The New York Times: "Despite Arrests, Obama Works to Rebuild Ties With Russia."

"On the heels of a sensational Russian spy scandal, Hillary Rodham Clinton is making her first visit as secretary of state to four post-Soviet states, each with a direct stake in the Obama administration's campaign to 'reset' relations with its former Cold War foe," the AP writes. "Clinton was headed Thursday to Ukraine, to be followed by stops in the south Caucasus states of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia -- all once part of the Soviet Union. She also is scheduled to visit Poland, a NATO ally whose ties to Moscow have been marked by tensions throughout history."

(By the way, we doubt we'll hear her say anything like Joe Biden's comments when he visited Ukraine last July: "The most beautiful women in the world. That's my observation.")

"Both Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the police sergeant who arrested him last year were to blame for the high-profile dispute that followed, according to an independent panel's report yesterday on a case that sparked a national discussion on racial profiling," the Boston Globe reports.

The New York Times on the report.