“President Obama will declare that the U.S. is firmly in support of democracy in the Arab world in a major speech Thursday intended to show administration policy has caught up with rapidly unfolding events in the Middle East,” The Hill writes. “White House officials on Wednesday touted Obama’s address as ‘beginning to turn the page to a more positive and hopeful future for U.S. policy in the region,’ following the killing of terrorist Osama bin Laden and the near completion of the drawdown of American troops in Iraq. As if to underscore its ‘change’ credentials, the administration on Wednesday froze the assets of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other officials in the Damascus regime. It also put new pressure on Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to sign an agreement that would force him out of power within a month.”
The Boston Globe’s editorial page: “As Obama prepares to make his second major speech aimed at the Muslim world, following his 2009 Cairo speech, people in the Middle East and beyond want to know just how far the United States will go to remove regimes that violate the human rights of their own people. Obama has attempted to answer that question with his actions — but the message has been muddled. Now, he should try to put it into words: The United States strongly supports the aspirations of those seeking democratic reform in the Arab world, but it can’t impose such changes from the outside. It has to deal with the world as it is, not as it wants it to be. It will be a force for human rights, but regime change should come from within.”
The Washington Post on the Middle East/North Africa challenges for Obama: “President Obama is facing pressure from key allies to act more decisively on several volatile issues in the Middle East and North Africa, including the armed rebellion in Libya, the uprising in Syria, and the moribund peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.”
Obama “paid a quick but rewarding visit to Boston yesterday, rallying supporters at a pair of fund-raisers to energize a Democratic stronghold and bolster his campaign coffers,” the Boston Globe says.
“Democrats evaluating the 2012 map are confident President Barack Obama can win enough battleground states to earn a second term, but via a far less aggressive path than what he forged in 2008,” Roll Call reports, adding, “A Democratic official familiar with the still-forming re-election campaign told Roll Call that the focus will be on holding the 2008 pickups of Colorado, Virginia and North Carolina, winning over Latino voters in the West and flooding the traditional swing states of Ohio and Florida with resources. The Democrats feel good about winning New Mexico and Nevada, especially given the population growth among Hispanics.”