Tags: Obama | Australia | trip | postpones

Obama Scuttles Australia, Indonesia Trip

Thursday, 18 Mar 2010 09:57 PM


U.S, President Barack Obama on Thursday dramatically postponed his trip to Indonesia and Australia until June, as he wages a vote-by-vote struggle to drive his health reform bill through Congress.

The move, which will delay Obama's effort to intensify US engagement with the dynamic Asia Pacific region, was enforced by the need to woo wavering Democratic lawmakers with a knife edge-vote on the plan expected on Sunday.

"We greatly regret the delay of the trip," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, adding that the "health insurance reform is of paramount importance and the president is determined to see this battle through."

"The president believes that right now the place for him to be is in Washington."

Obama, who has billed himself America's first Pacific president, called both Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to explain his dilemma.

Obama took the decision, under pressure from some Democrats, once it became clear that a crucial vote in the House of Representatives on health reform would not take place before Sunday afternoon.

"We did not want, at 10:00 on Sunday morning to make a call to the Indonesians and the Australians and say, 'I know we were going to be there in a matter of hours, but we're not going to be there.'"

"I think that would cause some problems just on common sense and manners."

To read full Sydney Morning Herald story — Go Here Now.

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2010-57-18
Thursday, 18 Mar 2010 09:57 PM
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