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Obama agenda: It all comes down to Europe?

The New York Times notes that resolving the European debt crisis could very well be the issue that determines whether or not President Obama gets re-elected. “The American economy has shown signs of life recently, with talk of a double-dip recession fading and job growth picking up. The change has raised the prospect that the economy may not be quite the political weight around Mr. Obama’s neck in 2012 that his advisers had feared — unless Europe goes downhill. Mr. Obama’s aides realize that there is no easy way to plan a re-election strategy for one potential body blow: an implosion of the European currency. Such an event, experts say, would undoubtedly send the American unemployment rate higher and possibly induce another recession. Other than lobbying from the sidelines, Mr. Obama and his administration have little control over the situation.”

“The Obama administration stunned women’s health advocates and abortion opponents alike Wednesday by rejecting a request to let anyone of any age buy the controversial morning-after pill Plan B directly off drugstore and supermarket shelves,” the Washington Post says. “For what the Food and Drug Administration thinks is the first time, the Department of Health and Human Services overruled the agency, vetoing the FDA’s decision to make the contraceptive available without any restrictions. Revealing a rare public split, FDA Administrator Margaret A. Hamburg said her conclusion that the drug could be used safely by women of all ages was nullified by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.”

The Times is the latest to mention how Obama’s re-election team is now taking Newt Gingrich seriously. “Several Democrats said they were also trying to view Mr. Gingrich through a fresh lens, and in particular, trying to understand the dynamics behind his appeal to this electorate. It was once a unanimous sentiment inside the White House that Mr. Romney would be the strongest Republican to run against, particularly because of his well-financed operation and his potential reach among independent voters and women.”

More: “While most advisers still maintain that Mr. Romney has significant advantages — organization, discipline and support of the Republican establishment — Democrats pointed to at least two areas that could make Mr. Gingrich a more difficult candidate to face. First, he could be more difficult to brand as hostile to the middle class, because Mr. Gingrich does not have a history of buying and selling companies as Mr. Romney does from his time at Bain Capital. Second, Mr. Gingrich has a better record of reaching out to Hispanic voters, the fastest-growing segment of the electorate.”

A day after Republicans took whacks at President Obama at the Republican Jewish Coalition, he will host a Hanukkah reception at the White House.