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Obama: 'Missed chance'?

The New York Times editorial page writes: “The White House set it up as a big moment, but the president squandered the chance to fully explain his exit strategy from a war Americans are desperate to see brought to an end.”

The New York Times: "President Obama, speaking to an American television audience on Tuesday night from Bagram Air Base, declared that he had traveled here to herald a new era in the relationship between the United States and Afghanistan, “a future in which war ends, and a new chapter begins.” Mr. Obama’s address, during an unannounced visit to sign a strategic partnership agreement with President Hamid Karzai that sets the terms for relations after the departure of American troops in 2014, was a chance for him to make an election-year case that he is winding down a costly and increasingly unpopular war. “My fellow Americans,” he said, speaking against a backdrop of armored military vehicles and an American flag, “we’ve traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of new day on the horizon.”"

The Washington Post: "His arrival here was timed to make the “strategic partnership agreement” official before an important NATO summit this month — and, in the words of one senior administration official traveling with Obama, to take advantage of “a resonant day for both our countries on the anniversary of the death of bin Laden.” Obama used his time with the troops to emphasize the sacrifices they and their families have made over more than a decade of conflict, saying that in doing so they made the bin Laden mission successful and put the long war on a path to its conclusion. The hours-long visit was directed almost entirely toward an American audience, unfolding while most Afghans slept. It also served as a detente after some of the tensest months in U.S.-Afghan relations."

The Guardian UK: “Though Obama said that the last three years of war had "broke the Taliban momentum" in the conflict, he also made it clear that the country would continue to engage in peace talks with them. He said the militant group was being offered a "path to peace" for the future. "My administration has been in direct discussions with the Taliban. We have made it clear they can be part of this future if they break with al-Qaida, renounce violence and abide by Afghan laws," Obama said. But privately the picture US officials painted a picture of Afghan prospects that was not always so rosy. A senior administration official, briefing journalists during the trip, said the security situation in the country was tough-going, even in the light of the new deal. "This is hard … Whatever we do, Afghanistan will still be the third poorest nation in the world with a 70% illiteracy rate [and] sectarian schisms in it," the official said. When asked if the Taliban could eventually take over the country, as they did in the 1990s, the official admitted the group would be a force to reckon with in Afghan society for the foreseeable future. "Do I think there will still be Taliban elements and influence in villages and remote mountain regions? Probably. But that would be true if we were still there for another 10 years because that's where they live," the official said."

The Obama campaign is going after Romney again on women’s rights, and it’s all about the base. A video posted is called, “Mitt Romney: Extreme on Women’s Issues.” It cuts together Romney statements.

Rep. Joe Walsh said this yesterday: "He's our first African-American president. The country voted for him because of that. It made us feel good about ourself. I've said it before, it helped that John McCain was about 142 years old. It helped that the economy was tanking. A lot of these things helped. But he never would have gotten there without his historic nature."

Supreme Court got just a 52% favorable score in a new Pew poll, the lowest rating in a quarter century. “There are virtually no partisan differences in views of the Supreme Court: 56% of Republicans, and 52% of both Democrats and independents rate the Supreme Court favorably. And the decline in court ratings has occurred across party lines over the past three years,” Pew writes, adding, “Republican ratings fell steeply between 2009 and 2010, with the appointments of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the court. Democratic ratings remained relatively high through 2010, but have fallen steeply since.”