President Obama began to fill in world leaders about his new Afghan strategy. Ray Suarez speaks with a New York Times reporter for more.
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President Obama began filling in key international leaders today on his new war strategy for Afghanistan. It was part of the final run-up to his announcement in a nationally televised address tomorrow night.
Ray Suarez has our lead story report.
The president informed his top civilian and military aides of the decision last night, and set in motion a far-reaching overhaul of U.S. policy in Afghanistan.
The centerpiece is expected to be the deployment of up to 35,000 additional American troops, raising the total to some 100,000. The first to go are likely to be 9,000 U.S. Marines moving into southern Helmand Province, a center of Taliban resistance. But it's already clear the president faces opposition in Congress.
Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders was on ABC yesterday.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-Ver.:
I have a real problem supporting 30,000 or 40,000 more troops and $100 billion more a year for that war, on top of what we're spending in Iraq.
Today, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the issue of cost, not only in lives but in treasure, will factor into the president's address.
He will certainly touch on the cost. This is neither the beginning of this debate, Ed, nor will this be the end of it. I think you will hear the president acknowledge the resource requirements.
Gibbs said Mr. Obama spoke today with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. Both nations have pledged to send more forces.
Mr. Obama also spoke with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. But France announced it will not add troops. Today's New York Times reported President Obama is also ready to set out a time frame for the eventual American withdrawal from Afghanistan.
And The Washington Post said the president will refocus efforts on Pakistan, Afghanistan's troubled nuclear neighbor to the east. The address is set for tomorrow night at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
For more on the administration's decision-making, we talk to Eric Schmitt of The New York Times' Washington bureau.
Eric, at this point, a full day before the president's speech, is it fair to say we're already mid-rollout?