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Obama agenda: Promoting human rights and democracy

"President Obama outlined a leading role for the United States in promoting human rights and democracy around the world Thursday, laying out a new foreign policy initiative that his advisers said will guide his diplomacy in the years ahead," the Washington Post says. "In his second annual address to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama spoke more directly than he has previously about the importance of human rights and democracy in ensuring a stable world economy and global security. His words evoked those of his predecessor, George W. Bush, whose emphasis on promoting democracy once drew Obama's criticism."

The AP: "The issue of Iran’s nuclear program was little more than a footnote in President Obama’s wide-ranging, 35-minute speech before the United Nations yesterday. But behind the scenes, US and Iranian officials appeared to be engaging in preliminary efforts to reopen talks to resolve what many consider the greatest global threat: a nuclear-armed Iran," AP reports.

"Defense Secretary Robert Gates has no plans to stay on at the Pentagon through the end of President Obama’s first term in office," The Hill writes. "Gates, whose service now spans one Republican and one Democratic administration, told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday that he has already made up his mind about his departure date, but refused to disclose any more details."

Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is blocking President Obama’s nominee to head OMB, Jack Lew, the Washington Post says. Landrieu “announced she will place a hold on the nomination until the Obama administration lifts a moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. ‘Although Mr. Lew clearly possesses the expertise necessary to serve as one of the President's most important economic advisers, I found that he lacked sufficient concern for the host of economic challenges confronting the Gulf Coast,’ Landrieu wrote in a letter informing Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid of her decision.”