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Obama Will Urge U.N. to Confront Iran, Violence in Middle East

President Obama; photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama arrives in New York on Monday to attend the U.N. General Assembly. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

The Morning Line

President Obama will seize the bully pulpit Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly in New York with a focus on quelling violence spreading abroad and promising the United States will “do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

“We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace,” the president will say, according to excerpts sent by the White House. “Make no mistake: A nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty.”

Early looks at the president’s speech also show he will “declare that the United States will not shrink from its role in troubled, transitioning nations despite the killing of four Americans in Libya, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens, and more than 50 people total in violence linked at least in part to an anti-Muslim film.”

The campaign won’t be far off — the president and first lady Michelle Obama will appear on ABC’s “The View” midday — but the week’s events allow Mr. Obama to showcase his existing relationships and the power of incumbency.

The Washington Post’s Joby Warrick explored in detail the president’s record on Iran as tensions remain high:

As Obama nears the end of his first term, the mixed results of his Iran policy have provided ammunition for supporters — who point to the president’s unparalleled success in uniting the world against a nuclear Iran — but also for his chief political rival, Republican Mitt Romney, who has pounded the White House for failing to halt Iran’s march to a nuclear-weapons capability and accused the president of abandoning Israel, the United States’ top ally in the region.

The Iran record offers unique insights into Obama’s use of power in dealing with an intractable foreign policy challenge that threatens to dominate the agenda of whoever occupies the White House in 2013.

Republicans are using one remark from Mr. Obama’s appearance Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes” to say he has not provided leadership on foreign policy. The president said he had always known there would be “bumps in the road” when it comes to the Middle East.

The Republican National Committee put up a web video Tuesday morning suggesting he was minimizing the recent violence and the attack on the embassy in Benghazi with that remark.

Watch the web video here or below.

NewsHour’s Larisa Epatko tees up five things to watch for this week at the meetings.


The NewsHour’s partnership with Kantar Media/CMAG and NPR officially kicked off Monday with a special report on the show taking a deep dive into one community that consistently appears in the top 10 media markets for presidential campaign spending.

NPR’s Ari Shapiro spent last week in Colorado Springs, talking with voters who are so inundated with ads they are looking for the mute button. But don’t forget this is actually Republican turf, and both campaigns agree Mitt Romney is likely to win Colorado Springs on Nov. 6. So why the flood of spots? To keep Romney’s margins down, Ari reported.

Ari and Gwen Ifill discussed the trip and how ads are impacting the battleground state. One overlooked angle to the massive spending is how difficult it can be for local retailers to get their own spots on the air.

Listen to Ari’s reports here and here or below:

The NewsHour also put together a short video with behind-the-scenes footage of Ari on the ground.

Watch his discussion with Gwen here or below.

USA Today’s Susan Page cautioned on the NewsHour that ads may not have as much influence as it seems.

“I don’t think in a presidential race that’s this close and six weeks out that the ads are going to decide this election,” she said. “I think the debates are much more likely to be decisive turning points than yet another flood of negative ads.”

Stuart Rothenberg agreed: “People don’t stop on the street talking about the ads that are running. They talk about the news that occurs when Mitt Romney says something or a U.S. ambassador is killed in the Middle East.”

The duo used their regular Monday appearance to assess where the race stands six weeks from Election Day.

Watch the segment here or below:


  • As Romney begins his Ohio bus tour, a new Washington Post poll finds the president has a strong lead in the Buckeye State, 52 percent to 44 percent. The president also leads Romney, 51 percent to 47 percent, in Florida.
  • The New York Times’ Nicholas Confessore and Ashley Parker report that the Romney campaign is looking to dial back the number of fundraisers hosted by the GOP presidential nominee.
  • The Romney campaign is concerned about “skewed polls.” In an interview with The Hill, campaign pollster Neil Newhouse summed up the rising Republican frustration with poll numbers. As of Tuesday morning, the RealClear average has Obama up 3.7. The “unskewed” average has Romney up 7.8.
  • The Wall Street Journal noticed Ann Romney has taken a sharper tone on the trail.
  • The New York Times on close message coordination between the GOP super PACs.
  • The Root’s Keli Goff asks if polls are missing young voters of color.
  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Henry Gomez notes that the president and Romney will campaign in the same part of Ohio on Wednesday.
  • Romney wondered aloud why windows don’t roll down in airplanes. A meme was born.





  • Ray Suarez outlines in stark terms the focus of the NewsHour’s American Graduate project. Tune-in Tuesday for the next edition in the series looking at high school dropouts.
  • The NewsHour also took an in-depth look at a new genetic test that could be a cancer breakthrough.
  • The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty writes that the Massachusetts Senate contest between GOP incumbent Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren has taken a turn for the negative.
  • The Hill reports on a brewing intra-party battle among House Republicans.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton aide Philippe Reines got caught up in a heated e-mail exchange with Buzzfeed reporter Michael Hastings on Sunday. For a refresher on Reines, read a 2011 piece from The Washington Post and a 2005 profile in The New York Times.
  • In the latest edition of “Politicians Gone Wild,” Florida State GOP Rep. Mike Horner dropped his re-election bid after being linked to a prostitution ring.
  • Politico reports that Missouri Senate nominee Rep. Todd Akin has a new supporter: Newt Gingrich. The former speaker of the House said while stumping for Akin that Republicans have a “moral obligation” to support the contentious candidate in his challenge to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. Tuesday is the final deadline for Akin to exit the race.
  • Democratic Indiana Senate nominee Rep. Joe Donnelly has a new television ad that stars someone pretending to be his rival, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, driving a convertible and yelling, “It’s my way or the highway!” Donnelly uses the ad to promote his work with Republicans and his support for extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts.
  • West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin released a television ad Monday touting the fact he gets haircuts from his wife, Gayle. “A penny saved is a penny earned,” Manchin says at the end of the spot. His wife then chimes in, “And he’s cheap.”
  • Things aren’t looking so grim these days for New York GOP Rep. Michael Grimm. A new Siena College poll shows the congressman up 10 points in his tough re-election fight with Democratic challenger Mark Murphy.
  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s staff made sure to flag some positive numbers in the Washington Post poll that didn’t get much press attention. The survey found that the Republican has a 58 percent job approval rating among registered voters in the commonwealth. Twenty-seven percent of voters disapprove of the way McDonnell is handling his job.

Alex Bruns contributed to this report.


All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • Vice President Biden delivers remarks in Chesterfield, Va., at 10:45 a.m.
  • President Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly at 10:10 a.m. and speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative at 12:10 p.m. His appearance on “The View” with first lady Michelle Obama airs in the early afternoon on most ABC stations.
  • Mitt Romney addresses the Clinton Global Initiative in New York at 9 a.m., speaks at an education summit at 11:10 a.m. and travels to Ohio for a rally with vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan outside Dayton at 3 p.m.
  • Paul Ryan attends a town hall in Cincinnati at 11:30 a.m. before meeting up with Romney in Vandalia, Ohio, at 3 p.m.

All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:

For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: @cbellantoni, @burlij, @elizsummers, @kpolantz, @indiefilmfan, @tiffanymullon, @dePeystah, @meenaganesan and @abbruns.

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