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Obama agenda: Airstrikes appear to be helping rebels

USA Today: “President Obama makes his case on Libya tonight at 7:30, a major address that he and aides have previewed in recent days. ‘Along with our allies and partners, we're enforcing the mandate of the United Nations Security Council,’ Obama said in his Saturday radio address. ‘We're protecting the Libyan people from (Moammar) Gadhafi's forces. And we've put in place a no fly zone and other measures to prevent further atrocities.’” 

So far, the strategy appears to be helping the rebel forces. “Rebels surged westward along Libya’s coast Sunday, seizing at least three more key towns and capitalizing on their new momentum after more than a week of airstrikes by an international coalition,” the Washington Post says. “The rebel stronghold of Benghazi erupted in gunfire and rockets early Monday amid rumors that that Sirte, the home town of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, had fallen. But those reports appeared to be unfounded."

The New York Times adds, "As rebel forces backed by allied warplanes pushed toward one of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s most crucial bastions of support, the American military warned on Monday that their rapid gains could quickly be reversed without continued coalition air support. As rebel forces backed by allied warplanes pushed toward one of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s most crucial bastions of support, the American military warned on Monday that their rapid gains could quickly be reversed without continued coalition air support."

“The taxpayers' bill for operations in Libya is headed to at least $1 billion in a conflict that the Pentagon chief said Sunday was not ‘a vital interest for the U.S.,’” the New York Daily News writes.

The Boston Globe profiles “Mahmoud Jibril, a reform-minded former Libyan official and the face of the rebel movement to the West, has played a key role in persuading the United States and its allies to offer a lifeline to Libya’s rebellion.” More: “Those who have met him — including Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France — have emerged from their meetings more confident that Libya’s fledgling opposition is steered by democratic and Western-leaning visionaries, not Islamic extremists. But Jibril, who earned a PhD in political science from the University of Pittsburgh, also underscores a major weakness of the movement to topple Khadafy: their lack of military might. Seven members of the 31-person interim council set up to coordinate the opposition are university professors, while only three are generals, according to a US official who has met with the opposition.”

President Obama will visit Harlem tomorrow.

The Chicago Sun-Times' Sweet says that Obama's campaign headquarters will be in Chicago's Prudential Building. "A source inside the Obama operation confirmed what I learned on my own -- that the headquarters will be in the Prudential Building and that a skeleton crew of Obama 2012 staffers are already in Chicago, including Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina. The headquarters is not yet up and running; it will open for business at a later date."

“Vice President Joe Biden is known for putting his foot in his mouth. Now, his staff is allegedly stuffing reporters in closets,” the New York Daily News reports. “A Florida newspaper reporter claims Biden’s staffers placed him in a storage closet last week to keep him from chatting up guests during a high-priced fundraiser. … Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander said in a statement Sunday that the decision to put Powers in the storage room was a "mistake" and that the reporter accepted her apology on Wednesday.”