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Obama’s media team readies ‘anti-India’ ad blitz

News4u-News Desk- After months of planning, President Barack Obama’s media team has prepared an aggressive strategy to portray Mitt Romney as insensitive to the plight of working people and beholden to powerful interests.
They have researched possible lines of attack and drafted language that can be dropped into an advertisement at a moment’s notice.

Campaign advisers said they are willing to commit a considerable chunk of their advertising budget — expected to be the largest any presidential campaign has ever seen — to broadcasting these attacks.

The work of the Obama message machine, a half-dozen outside advertising firms and in-house campaign strategists, is already on vivid display. In their ads, Web videos and online features, the president wants to thwart the influence of “big oil.” Romney cashes their campaign checks.

The president saved hundreds of thousands of jobs by rescuing the auto industry. Romney shipped jobs overseas. “It’s just what you expect from a guy who had a Swiss bank account,” one ad says.

At the center of this effort is Jim Margolis, and his job is to make you think of call centers in India every time you hear Romney’s name.

With a reporter in his studio on a recent afternoon, an unassuming Margolis seemed harmless enough as he leaned back in a swivel chair and suggested a few revisions to a video he was editing with his staff. Their work that day would become part of the $25 million advertising blitz the Obama campaign kicked off this week.

Strip a few data points out of the script, he said; too many numbers might confuse people. Swap out a clip of a smiling family and replace it with a father and son playing baseball. It will look less staged.

But Margolis did not become a top chef in what Romney calls the president’s “hell’s kitchen” of negative ads based solely on his eye for a pretty picture and flair for boiling down a good resume in 30 seconds.

His past work shows why he is such an indispensable part of Obama’s media team.

In the 2008 presidential campaign, Margolis produced a commercial that repeated John McCain’s ill-advised assertion “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” over and over, helping to sear the phrase into voters’ minds as the economy imploded that fall.

Two years later he helped Sen. Barbara Boxer of California win re-election against Carly Fiorina, the Republican nominee and former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, with ads that showed Fiorina being ushered into a chauffeured car as an aide held the door. One reminded voters: “While Californians lost their jobs, Fiorina tripled her salary, bought a million dollar yacht and five corporate jets.”

Margolis, 57, maintains a low profile in a presidential inner circle filled with advisers who write books and appear regularly on “Meet the Press” — the antithesis of a flamboyant adman. His lack of visibility belies his influence in Democratic circles, where he first surfaced as a 23-year-old congressional chief of staff in the 1980s.

A contemplative man with silver hair, large blue eyes and a low, gravely voice, he has served as a close adviser to a host of top Democrats, including Sens. Harry Reid, Max Baucus and Mark Warner.

As a debate coach he once made Boxer so angry during a prep session (he stood in very convincingly as Fiorina) that she had to take a walk outside to calm down. He still travels to Capitol Hill almost every Tuesday to offer strategic advice to Reid, who says of him, “He’s very good at making you feel you’re better than you are.”

If you live in a state where the presidential contest has been close at some point in the past 20 years, you have probably seen one of his ads. During the 2004 Democratic primaries, Margolis’ commercials featuring Sen. John Kerry’s crewmates from Vietnam recalling the senator’s heroism were credited with helping him win the nomination.

Margolis and his firm, GMMB, first produced ads for Obama in 2007, and their work quickly stood out for its subtle edge.

Using video from one of Obama’s speeches in Iowa, he created a gauzy 60-second commercial that made Hillary Rodham Clinton sound irrelevant with a line that never even mentioned her: “The same old Washington textbook campaigns just won’t do it.”

“It was a beautiful spot,” said Mandy Grunwald, who was a senior strategist for Clinton at the time. “Everybody knew who he was talking about.”

The ad’s potency speaks to a fact about Obama’s 2008 campaign that often goes overlooked. That year he ran more negative ads than any other candidate in history, according to the Wisconsin Advertising Project, a nonpartisan political research group.

McCain was depicted in some commercials as out of touch and feeble. One recalled the senator’s saying that he could not remember how many houses he owned. “Well, it’s seven,” the announcer said dismissively.

The Obama campaign acknowledges that fiercely attacking Romney has risks.

“Tonally we have to be very careful about the fact that the president does have standards and does have a brand that he feels strongly about,” said David Axelrod, Obama’s senior strategist. “I think it’s possible to be tough and also fair, tough and also factual. And that’s what we’re going to do. But rest assured, we will be responding when we are being attacked.”

Putting the efforts to define Romney aside, the Obama campaign faces problems with its own message. One big challenge that Margolis acknowledged is conveying optimism about the country’s progress without seeming tone deaf to the struggles that many Americans still face.

“If your house is under water or you can’t make your car payment, I’m not going to convince you that everything is OK,” Margolis said.

But noting some of the president’s signature accomplishments, like the auto company rescue, he added, “While none of us should diminish the hardships, we also shouldn’t be shy about telling the story of what this president is accomplishing.”
Not that Margolis has ever held back.

In the 2010 Boxer race, he sent a film crew to California to interview workers who were laid off by Fiorina.

“Fiorina never cared about our jobs. Not then. Not now,” said one of the workers, his voice ringing with indignation.

Margolis also created a series of commercials that year for Reid in Nevada, using ordinary citizens to criticize Sharron Angle, his Tea Party-backed opponent, as reckless and erratic.

In one ad, a Republican and member of the National Rifle Association said of her position on guns, “It’s crazy.” What was most damning went left unsaid: The suggestion that he was speaking about Angle herself.

Margolis declined to discuss any spots in the works for the Obama campaign. But his advice to Boxer in 2010 may offer a hint of what is to come.

“He would always say, ‘Barbara, this is a race between two choices,”‘ Boxer said in an interview. “‘And you need to remind people that you’re running against someone who shipped tens of thousands of jobs overseas and made her success by stepping over other people. You can never forget that.”‘NYT

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at Democratic National Committee fundraising reception in Washington on February 4. Obama travelled to the CIA headquarters Friday to pay tribute to seven agents killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan, Central Intelligence Agency officials said

US President Barack Obama

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White House: Time to try another tactic in Syria

News4u-News Desk-The White House says it may be time for the world to “admit defeat” in its current approach to violence in Syria.

It is the clearest statement yet the Obama administration sees little hope for a cease-fire brokered by UN envoy Kofi Annan.

Syrian forces are violating the ceasefire, but so far, other nations that back it have been unwilling to say it is dead.

White House press secretary Jay Carney says that if the Syrian regime keeps flouting the cease-fire, the United States and other nations should try other measures to pressure Syrian President Bashar Assad.

He said that would include a return to the UN Security Council.

The US is not considering a military intervention in Syria now.

White House

White House
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Killing Osama at his hideout in Pak was a right decision: Obama

News4u-News Desk-WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obamaon Monday defended his decision to order special forces to go inside Pakistan and kill al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden at his safe hideout a year ago.

“As far as my personal role and what other folks would do, I’d just recommend that everybody take a look at people’s previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and take out bin Laden,” Obama said at a joint White House news conference with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

“I assume that people meant what they said when they said it. That’s been at least my practice. I said that I’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him and I did.

“If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they’d do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain it,” Obama said in response to a question on the eve of the anniversary of the killing of bin Laden. He also disputed a statement that there is excessive celebration on this occasion.

“I hardly think that you have seen any excessive celebration taking place here. I think that the American people rightly remember what we as a country accomplished in bringing to justice somebody who killed over 3,000 of our citizens,” he said.

“And it’s a mark of the excellence of our intelligence teams and our military teams, a political process that worked. And I think for us to use that time for some reflection, to give thanks to those who participated is entirely appropriate, and that’s what’s been taking place,” Obama said.PTI

US President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama

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US hasn’t given anything away to Iran: Obama

News4u - News Desk :CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA: President Barack Obama says the U.S. hasn’t “given away anything” to Iran in the latest round of talks over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.

Obama is responding to criticism from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who says the U.S. and world powers gave Iran a “freebie” by agreeing to hold more talks next month. Netanyahu says that gives Iran more time to continuing enriching uranium without restrictions.

Obama dismissed that notion, saying the US and its partners have been clear with Iran about the goals of the talks. Diplomats who met with Iran in Istanbul on Saturday called the talks constructive and useful.

The U.S. has been trying to convince Israel not to launch a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities and insists there is time for diplomacy to work.AP

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

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Obama Admin tries to play down N Korean missile launch

News4u - News Desk : Washington,  The US has geared up for a strong response to the expected long-range missile launch by North Korea but at the same time tried to play down the propaganda value for the North Korean leadership.

“We take it seriously, but you should also understand that within the context of North Korean behaviour, it is not unusual,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, told reporters.

At the same time, Carney said that the US Government would come up with a strong response to any such long-range missile launch. “This action, if it takes place, is in keeping with the kind of behaviour that the North Korean leadership and regime has shown in the past,” he said.

“It is why, as I”ve said before and others have said, this kind of blatant disregard for their commitments makes it impossible for the United States to provide the nutritional assistance that it had hoped to provide for the North Korean people,” he said.

“One of the reasons why is because we need to be able to ensure that that assistance reaches the people who need it, those who are severely nutritionally deprived in North Korea, those who need that kind of aid and assistance, and what this action, if it takes place, would indicate is a failure by the North Koreans to consider abiding by their commitments a serious matter,” Carney said.

US President Barack Obama, the presidential spokesman said, during his recent trip to South Korea made clear and asked other countries, including China, that have influence on North Korea to do what they can to try to persuade it to change direction here, to reconsider the path that they”re on.

“And we continue to make that case. We consider this a provocative action, if it takes place. It is clearly in violation of two UN Security Council resolutions and demonstrates a propensity by the North Korean regime to spend and waste money on military programs while their own people starve,” he said.

“The fact of the matter is that the North Koreans have an alternative that would allow them to reduce their isolation, allow them to focus on the need to take care of their own people, to feed them, to educate them, to give them opportunity, if they would abide by their international obligations. And there are a great many nations focused on this problem, and we”ll continue to do so,” he said.

Carney said North Korea still has an opportunity for them to, at what would be the last minute, change direction here, perhaps reconsider the approach they”re taking and consider an alternative.

“If the North Koreans do act and they do launch this ballistic missile, we will certainly have something to say about it. That”s all. I wasn”t ruling out anything,” he said responding to a question.PTI


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Top Obama campaign donor accused of fraud

News4u-News Desk-WASHINGTON: A major donor to presidentBarack Obama has been accused of defrauding a businessman and impersonating a bank official, creating new headaches for Obama’s November re-election campaign as it deals with the questionable history of another top supporter.

The New York donor, Abake Assongba, and her husband contributed more than $50,000 to president Obama’s re-election effort this year, federal records show.

But Assongba is also fending off a civil court case in Florida, where she’s accused of thieving more than $650,000 to help build a multimilliondollar home in the state - a charge her husband denies.

Obama is the only presidential contender this year who released his list of “bundlers”, the financiers who raise campaign money by soliciting high-dollar contributions from friends and associates. But that disclosure has not come without snags; his campaign returned $200,000 last month to Carlos and Alberto Cardona, the brothers of a Mexican fugitive wanted on federal drug charges. Obama’s campaign spokesman declined comment.AP

US President Barack Obama : N Korea does not meet statutory criteria to be designated as state sponsor of terrorism

Barack Obama

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Nancy Powell is US envoy to India

News4u-News Desk- WASHINGTON: The US Senate on Friday confirmed career diplomat Nancy Powell as ambassador to India, a position that had remained vacant for the past year.

The Senate confirmed ambassadors to 16 countries following Obama administrations’s concern over the posts lying vacant. The confirmation had been lying pending before the senate for about two months now.

Obama’s first ambassador to India, formercongressman Timothy Roemer, had announced his resignation in April 2011. US president Barack Obama had nominated Powell as his next ambassador to India on December 16 last year, but since then her name had languished in the Senate for approval . The Obama administration has repeatedly said it puts a priority on building relations with the world’s largest democracy.

Powell, has previously served as US envoy in Pakistan and Nepal and holds the prestigious rank of career ambassador.

The Senate also confirmed ambassadors to 16 other countries.PTI

Nancy Powell

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Not ‘hiding the ball’ on Russia: Obama

News4u-News Desk-Greeting people of India on the occasion of its 60th Republic Day, President Barack Obama has said India and the United States have a strong shared belief in the values of liberty, pluralism and religious tolerance.
“I send my warmest wishes on behalf of the American people to the people of India and to those here in America and around the world who are celebrating Republic Day.”
“As the world’s largest democracies, US and India have a strong shared belief in the values of liberty, pluralism, and religious tolerance,” Obama said while greeting on the occasion of India’s Republic Day.
“This Republic Day is particularly special because it marks India’s Diamond Jubilee,” he said, adding that in the 60 years since the Indian Constitution was adopted, we have built a strong and vibrant partnership.
Obama had invited Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as his presidency’s first State Guest.
He hosted Singh at the White House on 24th November on his first State Dinner.
“I was pleased that Prime Minister Singh was the honoured guest for the first state dinner of my Presidency. It
was a chance to celebrate the great and growing partnership between our two Nations, and the friendship between our peoples,” Obama said

News4u-News Desk-SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he is not trying to “hide the ball” in negotiations with Russia over U.S. plans for a missile defense shield in Europe, trying to put to rest a controversy over comments to Russia’s leader that were picked up by an open microphone and quickly drew fire from Republican presidential contenders in America.

Republicans had pounced on Obama’s remarks to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday that he would have more room to negotiate on the issue after the November presidential election, accusing the president of having a hidden agenda that could include concessions to the Russians if he is re-elected this fall.

Obama’s conversation was picked up by a microphone without either leader apparently knowing.

“This is my last election,” Obama was heard telling Medvedev, Russia’s outgoing president. “After my election, I have more flexibility.”

A day later, with election-year political machinery in full gear, Obama sought to clarify.

“I want to reduce our nuclear stockpiles. And one of the barriers to doing that is building trust and cooperation around missile defense issues,” he said while he and Medvedev made a separate announcement about nuclear materials cleanup on the sidelines of a major security conference here.

“And so this is not a matter of hiding the ball,” Obama said. “I’m on record.”

Obama was prepared and eager to clarify his caught-on-tape words even at the risk of overshadowing his message for a second day about nuclear security efforts. In talking to reporters, however, he never answered a question about the presumptuousness of plotting out 2013 strategy with Russia when, in fact, he must win election again for any of that to matter.

For Russia, the issues of nuclear weapons reduction and the proposed missile shield are related. Russian fears of new U.S. missiles at its doorstep in Europe have helped to stymie further progress on nuclear arms reductions after a breakthrough agreement two years ago.

Obama said he wants to spend the rest of this year working through technical issues with the Russians, and said it was not surprising that a deal couldn’t be completed quickly.

“I don’t think it’s any surprise that you can’t start that a few months before presidential and congressional elections in the United States, and at a time when they just completed elections in Russia, and they’re in the process of a presidential transition,” Obama told reporters Tuesday.

He also made light of the controversy, jokingly asking whether the microphones were switched on before he spoke.

“The only way I get this stuff done is if I’m consulting with the Pentagon, if I’m consulting with Congress, if I’ve got bipartisan support, and the current environment is not conducive to those kinds of thoughtful consultations,” Obama said.

“I think we’ll do better in 2013.”

Neither Obama nor Medvedev knew they were being heard when they conferred quietly at what was billed as their last meeting of Medvedev’s presidency. He leaves office in May, to be replaced by the incoming Vladimir Putin.

According to ABC News, Medvedev replied in English: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” an apparent reference to incoming President Vladmir Putin.

The White House said Obama’s words reflected the reality that domestic political concerns in both the U.S. and Russia this year would make it difficult to fully address their long-standing differences over the contentious issue of missile defense. Obama, should he win re-election, would not have to face voters again.

Obama’s candid remarks Monday illustrated the political constraints that hem in any president who is running for re-election and dealing with a congressional chamber - in this case, the House - controlled by the rival party.

Republicans have fought Obama fiercely on health care, taxes and other issues. They are eager to deny him any political victories in a season in which they feel the White House is within reach, although Obama’s remarks suggested he feels good about his re-election prospects.

Mitt Romney, the leading Republican contender to face Obama this fall, told a San Diegoaudience the unguarded comments were “an alarming and troubling development.”

“This is no time for our president to be pulling his punches with the American people, and not telling us what he’s intending to do with regards to our missile defense system, with regards to our military might and with regards to our commitment to Israel,” Romney said.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor who often faces charges of having been flexible on his own policies over the years, also issued a statement saying Obama “needs to level with the American public about his real agenda.”

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said Romney “is undermining his credibility by distorting the president’s words.”

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich also questioned Obama’s motives.

“I’m curious, how many other countries has the president promised that he’d have a lot more flexibility the morning he doesn’t have to answer to the American people?” Gingrich said on CNN.

Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, wrote to the president requesting an “urgent explanation of (his) comments.” Turner said Congress “has made exquisitely clear to your administration and to other nations that it will block all attempts to weaken U.S. missile defenses.”

The Republicans’ sharp remarks underscore increased willingness of politicians to criticize a president on a foreign trip. The old adage “politics ends at the water’s edge” is a casualty of the nation’s heightened partisanship in recent decades.

Obama said the way the Republicans seized on his open-mic comments only made his point that the atmosphere is too politicized right now to advance arms control with Russia.

Congress, as part of the fiscal 2012 defense authorization act, constrained Obama’s ability to share classified U.S. missile defense information with Russia. Obama signed that legislation into law.

Putin said earlier this month that Washington’s refusal to offer Moscow written guarantees that its missile defense system would not be aimed against Russia deepened its concerns.AP



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Afghan civilians’ killing: Obama calls Karzai,vows quick probe

News4u-News Desk-President Barack Obama has vowed a swift probe into the killing of 16 Afghans by an American soldier as he called his counterpart Hamid Karzai to express shock over the incident, which has sparked fresh tensions after the burning of copies of the Quran at a US-run military base.

Obama, who telephoned Karzai on Sunday night, “extended his condolences to the people of Afghanistan, and made clear his administration’s commitment to establish the facts as quickly as possible and to hold fully accountable anyone responsible,” the White House said in a statement.

Obama called Karzai to express his “shock and sadness” over the killing of 16 civilians, mostly women and children.

He “reaffirmed our deep respect for the Afghan people and the bonds between our two countries,” the statement said.

Before speaking to Karzai, Obama had issued a statement describing the Kandahar incident as “tragic and shocking”, which did not represent American values.

“This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the US has for people of Afghanistan,” he said.

“I am deeply saddened by the reported killing and wounding of Afghan civilians. I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and to the people of Afghanistan, who have endured too much violence and suffering,” Obama said.

US-Afghan ties had plunged to an all-time low last month after the burning of copies of Quran at the American-run military base in Bagram, an incident which triggered anti-US protests across Afghanistan which left around 40 people dead.

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta also called Afghan President Karzai to express his condolences.

US President Barack Obama and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai

US President Barack Obama and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai

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Obama meets Netanyahu, says diplomacy is best way to resolve Iran nuke crisis

News4u-News Desk-President Barack Obama will hold a three-way meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Tuesday.
The trilateral meeting will be “immediately preceded” by bilateral talks between Obama and the two leaders ahead of the United Nations general assembly in New York, the White House said Saturday.
The meeting, which had been called into question after US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell returned empty-handed from a mission to the region, will seek “to lay the groundwork for the relaunch of negotiations, and to create a positive context for those negotiations so that they can succeed.”
Mitchell wrapped up a mission to the Middle East on Friday after failing to secure an Israeli freeze on settlement expansion that would pave the way for the resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, stalled since Israel’s devastating offensive against the Gaza Strip in December.
The quartet on Middle East peace — the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations — also plans to hold talks on the sidelines of the UN general assembly next week.
Israelis and Palestinians blamed each other for the lack of progress made during Mitchell’s visit.

News4u-News Desk-WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama assured Israel’s visiting leader Monday that theUnited States ”will always have Israel’s back,” in a display of unity between allies who often disagree. He said the US and Israel agree that diplomacy is the best way to resolve the crisis over potential Iranian nuclear weapons.

“Both the prime minister and I prefer to solve this diplomatically,” Obama said as he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahubegan several hours of White Houseconsultations. The U.S. will consider all options in confronting what it sees as the unacceptable outcome of an Iranian bomb, Obama said.

“Israel and America stand together,” Netanyahu said. He added that Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to defend itself, a pointed reference to the main question hanging over Monday’s high-stakes meeting: Whether to try to stop an Iranian bomb by with a military attack in the next several months.

Israel must remain “the master of its fate,” Netanyahu said.

Obama will try to persuade Netanyahu to slow quickening pressure among many in his hawkish government to attack Iran’s disputed nuclear development sites. Obama is trying to avert an Israeli strike that could come this spring, and which the United States sees as dangerously premature.

The president is expected to tell Netanyahu in private at the White House that although the U.S. is committed to Israel’s security it does not want to be dragged into another war. Obama is unlikely to spell out U.S. “red lines” that would trigger a military response, despite Israeli pressure to do so.

Obama previewed the White House meeting with a speech Sunday to American supporters of Israel, a key constituency in this election year.

Obama said he does not want war but insists he would attack Iran if that was the only option left to stop that nation from getting a nuclear weapon.

“Loose talk of war” only plays into Iran’s hands, Obama said.

U.S. officials believe that while Tehran has the capability to build a nuclear weapon, it has not yet decided to do so. They want to give sanctions time to pressure Iran to give up any military nuclear ambitions. Israel says the threat is too great to wait and many officials there are advocating a pre-emptive strike.

Obama did not directly call on Israel to stand down, and made a point of saying Israel should always have the right to defend itself as it sees fit.

That was the part of Obama’s speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that Netanyahu said he liked best. Speaking to reporters in Canada ahead of his arrival in the U.S., Netanyahu made no reference to the sanctions and diplomacy Obama emphasized.

Obama is unlikely to persuade Netanyahu that economic sanctions and diplomacy are enough to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and he is unlikely to win any new concessions from Netanyahu on peace talks, the issue that drew bad blood between the two men in previous meetings and led the Israeli leader to publicly scold Obama last year.

Netanyahu has not publicly backed a military strike, but his government spurned arguments from top U.S. national security leaders that a preemptive attack would fail.

“Now is not the time for bluster,” Obama said. “Now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in.”

Israeli President Shimon Peres, who had a meeting with Obama Sunday, said he “came out with the feeling that the man is determined to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons.”

Netanyahu was more subdued in reacting to Obama’s comments Sunday, saying, “more than everything, I value his statement that Israel must be able to protect itself from all threats.”

Obama framed military force as a last resort, not the next option at a time when sanctions are squeezing Iran. He said just the talk of war has driven up the price of oil to the benefit of Iran.

Although Israel says it hasn’t decided whether to strike, it has signaled readiness to do so within the next several months. The top U.S. military officer recently called a unilateral strike “imprudent,” a mild catchall for the chain-reaction of oil price hikes, Iranian retaliation, terror strikes and a possible wider Mideast war that U.S. officials fear could flow from an Israeli strike.

Israel says a nuclear-armed Iran would be a threat to its existence. It cites Iranian leaders’ repeated calls for Israel’s destruction, support for anti-Israel militant groups and its arsenal of ballistic missiles that are already capable of striking Israel. Israel also fears a nuclear Iran would touch off an atomic weapons race in a region hostile to Israel’s existence.

Addressing the powerful pro-Israel lobby, Obama delivered messages to multiple political audiences: Israel, Iran, Jewish voters, a restless Congress, a wary international community and three Republican presidential contenders who will speak to the same group Tuesday.

At the core was his assertion that the United States will never settle for containing a nuclear-armed Iran or fail to defend Israel.

The head of the U.N. nuclear agency said Monday his organization has “serious concerns” that Iran may be hiding secret atomic weapons work, as he acknowledged failure in his latest attempt to probe such suspicions and listed recent atomic advances by Iran.

“The agency continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program,” International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said in Vienna.AP

US, President Barack Obama

US, President Barack Obama

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