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Obama agenda: Red line crossed

Ahead of next week’s G-8 summit, “The Obama administration announced Thursday that it has determined that the Syrian government has deployed chemical weapons against opposition groups, crossing what President Obama had called a "red line" and prompting him to provide direct military aid to the Syrian opposition groups for the first time,” USA Today writes. “White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said that the president has decided to step up "military support" to the main opposition group, the Supreme Military Council, to bolster its effectiveness, but declined to ‘inventory’ what equipment would be provided. But a government official knowledgeable about the plans confirmed to USA Today that the new assistance would include arming the rebels. The official was not authorized to speak and did so on condition of anonymity.”

“A year after President Barack Obama made an emphatic pitch to Europe’s economic powers to focus more on economic growth than austerity, much of the eurozone remains mired in or near recession. Obama’s appeals have had mixed results in softening the demands on some of the most debt-ridden European nations to cut their spending,” the AP writes. “Still, the region’s crisis is no longer perceived as an urgent threat to the global economy, and while the U.S. still wants Europe to temper the debt trimming and increase global demand, Obama is not expected to be as insistent with other leaders of the Group of Eight industrial nations when they meet in Northern Ireland next week.”

Noting good economic data, Charlie Cook notes that President Obama isn’t benefiting much from it: “The good news for President Obama and his administration is that all the controversies swirling around the White House have not had a significant impact on his job-approval ratings. The bad news is that, like so many other second-term administrations, Obama’s may end up spending so much of its last four years fighting fires and fending off congressional inquiries that it gets little else done. … if the administration is bogged down in controversy, voters won’t be handing the president or anyone else any laurels for the economic recovery. That’s what Obama, his administration, and congressional Democrats facing voters next year ought to worry about.”

“President Obama spends Friday looking forward to Father's Day and honoring the champions of women's pro basketball,” USA Today writes, adding, “The president ‘will be joined by fathers and their children as well as students and leaders from the Becoming a Man (BAM) program at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago,’ the White House added.”

Here’s Obama’s famous 2008 Father’s Day speech.

“The White House says President Barack Obama is taking advantage of new advances in the wireless industry to help create jobs,” AP writes. “Obama is expected to announce Friday that he’s directing federal agencies to be more efficient in their use of radio spectrum and to make more capacity available to satisfy the growing demand for broadband Internet.”

Iran’s presidential election takes place today. If no one gets a majority, there’s a runoff next week. AP: “As polls opened early Friday, arguments over whether to boycott the ballot still boiled over at coffee shops, kitchen tables and on social media among many liberal-leaning Iranians. The choice — once easy for many who turned their back in anger after years of crackdowns — has been suddenly complicated by an unexpected chance to perhaps wage a bit of payback against Iran's rulers. The rising fortunes of the lone relative moderate left in the race, former nuclear negotiator Hasan Rowhani, has brought something of a zig-or-zag dilemma for many Iranians who faced down security forces four years ago: Stay away from the polls in a silent protest or jump back into the mix in a system they claim has been disgraced by vote rigging.”