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Obama agenda: An alliance -- and a hoops game

President Obama and British Prime Minister co-write a Washington Post op-ed: “The alliance between the United States and Great Britain is a partnership of the heart, bound by the history, traditions and values we share. But what makes our relationship special — a unique and essential asset — is that we join hands across so many endeavors. Put simply, we count on each other and the world counts on our alliance.”

What also makes it special: The two men tonight will travel to Dayton, OH to watch tonight’s NCAA tournament basketball game there at 6:30 pm ET. The game they will be watching:  Mississippi Valley State vs. Western Kentucky.

“President Obama's approval rating has hit the lowest level ever in CBS News polling, according to the latest CBS News/New York Times survey. The drop may be partially attributable to rising gas prices,” CBS writes. “Just 41 percent of Americans approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing as president, according to the poll, conducted from March 7 to 11. Another 47 percent disapprove of his performance, up from 41 percent last month.”

A majority – 54% -- continue to say they believe a president can do a lot about gas prices. That said, Obama leads his GOP rivals – Romney 47%-44%, Santorum 48%-44%, Paul 49%-39%, and Gingrich 52%-38%. (It raises the question: How can you be at 41% approval but beating Romney by three points?)

“The White House scrambled Monday to contain the political damage from rising gas prices, which have emerged as a primary threat to President Obama’s reelection,” The Hill writes. “Obama gave White House interviews touting his energy policies to TV stations in several regions, including the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar appeared in the White House briefing room to emphasize that ‘all options are on the table’ to lower prices.” 

President Obama gave his thoughts on the killings of sixteen Afghan civilians by an American soldier to several TV network affiliates yesterday, as well as a defense of his administration’s work on oil production and prices, NBC’s Ali Weinberg reports. He told Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA that the shootings were “absolutely heartbreaking and tragic” and that he “expressed directly to [Afghan] President Karzai how the American people feel any time innocent civilians, especially children, are killed.” And while he told Denver CBS affiliate KCNC that it’s important that the United States is not “in Afghanistan longer than we need to be,” he also told the Pittsburgh station that U.S. troops should not “do it in a way that is just a rush for the exits.” 

In an interview with Orlando ABC affiliate WFTV, Obama was asked about perceptions that he’s not doing enough on gas prices. “Look, as long as gas prices are going up, people are going to feel like I’m not doing enough and I understand that because people get hurt when they’re going to that gas station and seeing those prices rise every day,” he said.  He also told Des Moines NBC affiliate WHO that the “the single most important thing we can do” to lower long-term oil costs “is reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

Introducing Vice President Biden at a fundraiser at his Georgetown home in Washington, Sen. John “Kerry quoted the vice president summing up the complexities of President Obama’s first term: ‘Osama bin Laden is dead. General Motors is alive,’” The Boston Globe writes. Biden lauded Obama’s backbone, but also said this: “This guy’s the real deal. He may say it differently than some of you are used to hearing, but this guy’s the real deal … and his policies are working.” Say it differently?

The Boston Globe profiles a Cambridge, Mass., couple that won dinner with the president and First Lady.