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Obama agenda: On the sidelines

The New York Times writes that President Obama is now largely standing on the sidelines in the debt debate. “Having already deployed the heavy weapons from the presidential arsenal, including a national address on Monday night and a veto threat, Mr. Obama is in danger of seeming a spectator at one of the most critical moments of his presidency. Having been unable to get the grand bargain he wanted — a debt limit increase and up to $4 trillion in debt-reduction through spending cuts and taxes — Mr. Obama’s challenge now is to reassert himself in a way that produces the next-best outcome, or at least one that does no harm to his re-election hopes.”

Per the AP: “Twice as many Americans as previously reported by law enforcement have traveled overseas to join a Qaeda-linked organization, a congressional investigation found. The findings, discussed in a congressional hearing yesterday, are an indication the Somalia-based terrorist group has an even deeper reach into the United States. More than 40 Americans have traveled to war-torn Somalia to join the terrorist group Al Shabab, an investigation by Republican staff on the House Homeland Security Committee found.”

“The Senate extended the term of FBI Director Robert Mueller for up to two years yesterday, a day after President Obama signed legislation making an exception to the 10-year limit for an FBI chief,” the AP writes. “The vote was 100-0.”

“Massachusetts supporters of President Obama are planning a big birthday party in his absence,” the Boston Globe reports. “On Aug. 3, the night before the president turns 50, they are holding a reelection campaign fund-raiser at Town Stove and Spirits on Boylston Street. The featured guests will be former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and current Deputy Campaign Manager Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, according to the invitation.”