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Obama agenda: Heading to Kansas City

“Locked in a tug of war with lawmakers over spending and borrowing, President Barack Obama is pressing his case in America’s heartland that Congress mustn’t jeopardize fragile economic progress with threats of a government shutdown,” AP writes. “A recently expanded auto plant near Kansas City, Mo., is the venue for Obama to argue Friday that the U.S. economy is primed to thrive, if only Congress will let it.”

By the way, Obama’s trip to Kansas City today does not land on the front page of the Kansas City Star. MUCH bigger news was the Chiefs’ Thursday night 26-16 win over the Philadelphia Eagles that saw Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid’s victorious return to the city where he coached for 13 years.

The New York Times’ David Sanger: “President Obama is facing two unexpected diplomatic initiatives with the United States’ biggest adversaries in the Middle East, Syria and Iran, each fraught with opportunity and danger. … But the big picture for Mr. Obama is that after weeks of appearing uncertain of his way, he now has a chance to pull off something big. “If he gets this right in the ninth inning, no one will remember what the fourth and fifth inning looked like,” David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s longtime political strategist, said Thursday. But the president is nowhere near the ninth inning; the game is only now getting interesting.”

“The Obama administration is pressing ahead with tough requirements for new coal-fired power plants, moving to impose for the first time strict limits on the pollution blamed for global warming,” AP writes. “The proposal would help reshape where Americans get electricity, away from a coal-dependent past into a future fired by cleaner sources of energy. It’s also a key step in President Barack Obama’s global warming plans, because it would help end what he called ‘the limitless dumping of carbon pollution’ from power plants. … The EPA provided The Associated Press with details of the proposal prior to the official announcement, which was expected Friday morning. The public will have a chance to comment on the rule before it becomes final.”

Ron Brownstein: “Nothing will shape Obama’s legacy more than whether he can successfully implement, and politically entrench, his massive health reform plan. Obama has three years to fortify the law with enough support to make repeal difficult, even if Republicans win unified control of Washington in 2016.” He adds, “No other federal entitlement has faced such ferocious opposition after passage. Although many conservatives initially raged against Medicare, that fire extinguished quickly when benefits started flowing in 1966.”

More (and sure to get attention): “Without drawing moral equivalence, it’s fair to say the health care law is facing more widespread defiance than any federal initiative since the Supreme Court ordered public schools to desegregate in its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.”

The Boston Globe: “Former first daughter Caroline Kennedy coasted through a Senate confirmation hearing to be the next U.S. ambassador to Japan, promising to carry forward John F. Kennedy’s legacy with humility.”

Best ambassadors money can buy… The Hill: “President Obama on Thursday said he will nominate Goldman Sachs banker Bruce Heyman, a top bundler to his 2012 campaign, to be his ambassador to Canada. Heyman is the managing director of Private Wealth Management at Goldman Sachs & Co. and one of the few executives at the financial services giant to openly support Obama. He and his wife, Vicki, hosted a fundraiser for Obama at their Chicago home back in 2007 — when Hillary Clinton was still the Democratic front-runner — and have jointly bundled $1.7 million for the president, according to records obtained by The New York Times.”