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Obama agenda: The military's squeeze play

In his first installment in the Washington Post about his new book, “Obama’s Wars,” Bob Woodward reports that the U.S. military thwarted the president’s ability to find a way out of Afghanistan. “He was looking for choices that would limit U.S. involvement and provide a way out. His top three military advisers were unrelenting advocates for 40,000 more troops and an expanded mission that seemed to have no clear end. When his national security team gathered in the White House Situation Room on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2009, for its eighth strategy review session, the president erupted. ‘So what's my option? You have given me one option,’ Obama said, directly challenging the military leadership at the table, including Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, then head of U.S. Central Command.”

More: “‘We were going to meet here today to talk about three options,’ Obama said sternly. ‘You agreed to go back and work those up.’” Mullen protested. ‘I think what we've tried to do here is present a range of options.’ Obama begged to differ. Two weren't even close to feasible, they all had acknowledged; the other two were variations on the 40,000. Silence descended on the room. Finally, Mullen said, ‘Well, yes, sir.’”

Previewing the president’s rally on Tuesday in Wisconsin, the Washington Post sees it as an effort to re-engage and re-energize young voters. “When Obama steps onto a grass quad at the University of Wisconsin on Tuesday, he will deliver a newly tailored, more personalized campaign appeal aimed at ginning up enthusiasm, according to White House and senior Democratic officials. Plouffe said Obama will remind students of the work they put into his 2008 campaign and warn them that if they don't reengage now, ‘all that could be jeopardized.’”

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s September Health Tracking Poll shows the health-reform law is now favored by 49% of the American public with 40% having an unfavorable opinion. A quarter (26%) think it should be repealed.